Norwich City need the good, the fresh and the ugly for new season

Norwich City must look to the future and build around young players like James Maddison, says Ian Cl

Norwich City must look to the future and build around young players like James Maddison, says Ian Clarke. - Credit: EMPICS Sport

Can you believe that we are just days away from the first anniversary of the play-off final at Wembley?

There was so much hope and expectation after that amazing Monday last May.

A year on and it seems in so many ways that we are back to square one.

We need to look ahead positively to next season but clearly we have to look back to learn from the litany of errors since we marched away triumphantly from North London.

There seems little doubt that there's going to be something of a hokey cokey at Carrow Road this summer – yes, lots of in and out as Alex Neil shakes it all about.

We've all got our shopping lists of the players we want to see arrive for the promotion push.

Well, for me we need to target three types of players – the good, the fresh and the ugly.

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When I talk good I mean the likes of Timm Klose.

I hear he's '50/50' to stay. It has to be a number one priority to make him the heart of our side.

City kept just five clean sheets out of 38 league games – that is totally unacceptable.

I feel we need to also add a midfielder and frontman in the same league of quality.

Failing to score in 15 games tells a sobering story.

When I describe fresh I'm referring to blending in some of our young, exciting players who have been loaned out. The Murphy twins, Carlton Morris and James Maddison are four of the lads who I want to see here in August.

They have learned a lot while they have been elsewhere and we need their exuberance. I'd also like to see a fresh pair of eyes coming in to help Alex Neil.

I rate his single mindedness and his determination to do things 'his way' – but he needs a wise head alongside him, especially during the tough times.

And so to the ugly. I'd never question the looks of footballers who are bigger and harder than me.

What I mean is those who can play ugly, galvanise the team and be the talisman in the side.

Yes I am referring to clones of Malky, Flem, Iwan and Holty.

They gave us the never-say-die spirit we've been missing.

OTBC and have a good summer. See you in August.

• HEROES OF THE WEEK: Delia was right - Norwich supporters are the best in the world. Those who have travelled to all the away games this season have clocked up an incredible 7000 miles. They had another miserable journey to Everton on Sunday but still stayed loyal to the bitter end.

• VILLAIN OF THE WEEK: Most City players - whether they are staying or leaving - looked suitably gutted when relegation was sealed after the Watford. There were a small minority, however, who laughed and joked during the lap of appreciation. To me that was massively disrespectful.

• HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: There hasn't been much to cheer about from the Canaries this week. So my other team – Dereham Town – provided me with a much-needed fillip by winning the Norfolk Senior Cup. The Magpies have had a great few years and the success is much deserved.

• FUNNIEST MOMENT OF THE WEEK: More than once this season, BBC Radio Norfolk's Canary Call has featured in this column. A call from a fan after the Watford game left me in stitches when a fan kept pronouncing our striker 'M-bok-anee!' Hilarious.

• PREDICTION OF THE WEEK: It's been a bizarre old season, especially for Kyle Lafferty. He was a key player in helping Northern Ireland qualify for the Euros and yet was out of favour at Carra. I bet he'll make a real impact on the tournament in France.