Cup challenge is a delicate balancing act for Norwich City chief Neil Adams

Norwich manager Neil Adams during his side's 2-2 draw with Birmingham City at Carrow Road. Picture b

Norwich manager Neil Adams during his side's 2-2 draw with Birmingham City at Carrow Road. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Manager Neil Adams is all too aware that taking cup competitions seriously has been a fiercely debated topic amongst Norwich City fans in recent seasons.

For all Paul Lambert's brilliant league successes, many City supporters were left frustrated by cup disappointments on his watch, including a 4-0 home loss to MK Dons in the League Cup and a 2-1 defeat to Leicester in the FA Cup.

Chris Hughton managed to mastermind a run to the League Cup quarter-finals, before a disappointing 4-1 home loss to Lambert's Aston Villa, but he also presided over a shock FA Cup loss to non-league Luton Town.

Watching those frustrations unfold – or being told about them during his Canary Call days on BBC Radio Norfolk – was the current City chief.

'The priority will always be the league, no matter what league you are in and every manager will say the same thing, that's the bread and butter,' Adams admitted ahead of tonight's Capital One Cup third-round clash at Shrewsbury.


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'Cup competitions, the further you get, it's a piece of silverware and everybody wants that.

'It is a fine balancing act because you've got one eye on the Saturday just gone and injuries or knocks, you've got the other eye on the next league game and you've got a massively important cup game in between.

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'I believe we've got a thousand supporters travelling with us again which in itself is reason enough to take the game seriously and we will always do that.

'I'd be lying to you if I said it was any more important than the league games but do we want to win the game? Absolutely.'

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Ensuring that no further cup misery arrives is unlikely to be easy tonight though.

Micky Mellon's side have lifted the gloom of their League One relegation by beating Championship side Blackpool in the first round and Premier League new boys Leicester in the second.

'They are certainly going to have to come at us and make a game of it,' Adams said. 'It's a no-lose situation for them, they've got everything to gain as lower league teams do against higher-league opposition.

'We've just got to make sure it doesn't happen and make sure we are ready for whatever we expect them to throw at us.'

Adams is likely to field a much-changed side for the match though, adding: 'It's easy to change a team that's losing. When you've not won a game then other players have got every right to say 'give me a chance'.

'The difficult thing is changing a winning team. I won't ever be afraid to change a winning side, I did it on Saturday of course, but when you've got that momentum going and you make changes then you open yourself up for people to ask why you didn't keep it the same as it was.

'I've got to make that decision to pick a team that I think can win us the game but with games coming thick and fast then what you don't want to do is burn people out.'

Follow David Freezer on Twitter @davefreezer.

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