Iwan Roberts: Norwich must be on song because Warnock is getting a tune out of Cardiff
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Tonight promises to be as tough a test for Daniel Farke and his players as they will probably face this season when they travel to the Welsh capital to face high-flying Cardiff City.
Neil Warnock, for the first time since big Malky Mackay left Cardiff, has united the whole club, from owner Vincent Tan to players and, most importantly, the club's fans, and you can certainly tell by his players' performances this season that they mean business.
There's a real feelgood factor around Cardiff City this season and it's all down to one man, Neil Warnock. Love him or hate him, he's worked wonders at a club that looked destined for League One when he took over last season.
Cardiff sit second in the table and if they win tonight – and if I'm honest I fully expect them to – will close the gap on big-spending Wolves to just one point. One thing is for sure – if you don't compete, battle and roll your sleeves up against this Cardiff side they will take full advantage and walk all over you, as they did Nottingham Forest last Sunday.
Cardiff go into this game on the back of three consecutive wins without conceding a goal – they've kept five clean sheets in their last seven games. No wonder they boast the league's best defensive record, conceding just 13 goals in their 19 games.
If Norwich have struggled at home this season, the Bluebirds have do anything but, having not tasted defeat at the Cardiff City Stadium, winning six and drawing three of the nine they've played at home. And they've only conceded four goals at home all season, which goes to show the size of task in front of Norwich tonight.
Once again Warnock has shown – not for the first time in his long managerial career – that you don't have to spend millions to assemble a squad of players capable of winning promotion to the Premier League.
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The Canaries are in desperate need of some points and they need them quickly after yet another no-show last week at Carrow Road.
Josh Murphy took some stick after he cupped his ear to the Norwich fans after his goal against Barnsley, something some fans took exception to. It's not been an easy season for Josh – he's seen his twin brother earn a big money move to Newcastle, something I'm sure he'll have been chuffed to bits with. However, deep down he might have been thinking, 'why didn't Newcastle come in for me?'
He's been in and out of the team and hasn't really had the influence in games he would have been hoping for. He hasn't taken the opportunities he's had this season to step from Jacob's shadow and show us that he's just as capable a player as his twin brother.
If I'm honest I don't like or agree with supporters getting on the backs of young, local lads who have come through the club's academy, but sometimes, as a player, you have to help yourself when you're playing. I've heard people complain that Josh doesn't work as hard as he could, he doesn't track back, which isn't the end of the world if you're giving so much going forward, but at this minute in time it doesn't sound like he is.
My good mate Hucks will be the first to admit that he wasn't the best at tracking back, but we forgave him that as he gave us so much in an attacking sense. Plus, he had one of, if not the, best left backs in the league behind him in Adam Drury.
Josh just needs to knuckle down, listen and work hard and show the natural ability that we know he has and if he does this I'm sure he'll win the doubters over and he won't have to ever cup his ear again in front of the Carrow Road faithful.