Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 3-1 Championship win at Preston

James Maddison could finally get the chance to fufil all that undoubted potential.
Picture: Paul Ch

James Maddison could finally get the chance to fufil all that undoubted potential. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his snap verdict from Deepdale

1. The lesser spotted Maddison - Alan Irvine finally unleashed the attacking midfielder on a Championship defence in City colours. The result was a match-sealing league debut goal for the Canaries. Steven Naismith rolled in the youngster who showed plenty of composure to draw Chris Maxwell and slot underneath the Preston keeper to seal the win. Maddison ran straight to the 546 away fans to celebrate in the spring sunshine. There have been precious few shafts of light to bask in over recent weeks. The appearance of Maddison and the potential to come is something to relish. Irvine was quick to bring him back down to earth after the game with a reminder he will be judged on his work with and without the ball but there is no doubt Maddison is part of the future at Carrow Road.

2. Josh Murphy - Another of the new wave fans want to see more of over the final weeks of this wretched campaign. Josh may have had to defer to his twin brother for the most part but given a start by Irvine this was a perfect reminder he has the talent to operate in Norwich's first team. City's second goal, finished by Murphy, was a thing of beauty. Alex Pritchard triggered the move but it was Murphy's penetrative burst and exchange of passes with the overlapping Mitchell Dijks that added the cutting edge. There may have been the odd over-hit cross or tame shot thereafter but that is all part of the learning curve. Murphy's decision-making will only develop with more first team exposure. Dislodging those ahead of him in the queue is the task next season. Much like Jacob has achieved down the right flank.

3. Some good, some bad - Norwich eased to a rare away win but there was still more set piece vulnerability that gave Preston a lifeline in the second half. Tommy Spurr rose unmarked to plant Paul Gallagher's free kick beyond John Ruddy. Jonny Howson appeared to mis-judge the flight of the delivery to spark a sustained home onslaught. Naismith was required to make a last-ditch tackle. Then Paul Huntington was left unmarked at the far post but could only head the resulting corner wide. That lack of organisation and personal responsibility has hindered Norwich all season. 44 goals and counting conceded on the road is simply unacceptable.

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4. Enjoy the trip home - Those 546 away supporters will feel the long haul back to Norfolk is worth it. They have not been able to say that too often this season. A first Championship away win since beating Cardiff on February 4 is a damning statistic. It has been anything but fun following the Canaries on the road in recent times. That has to change if Norwich is to become upwardly mobile again. In that pursuit they will need the green and yellow army to march again next season in big numbers. They deserve better than slim rations.

5. Hughton next - Chris Hughton brings newly-promoted Brighton to Carrow Road on Friday. A home win on Easter Monday against Wigan coupled with promotion rivals Huddersfield falling short in the final minutes at Derby later in the day secured Brighton's Premier League status. Hughton's last competitive outing on the Carrow Road touchline ended in an acrimonious defeat to West Brom in a season which ended in relegation. Hughton had his detractors among the Canaries' faithful. The brand of football and the defensive caution were tough to digest but he deserves a rousing reception in recognition of the job he has done on the south-coast, after last season's near miss.

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