Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 5-1 Championship romp against Nottingham Forest

Alex Pritchard struck a second half brace against Nottingham Forest.
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Foc

Alex Pritchard struck a second half brace against Nottingham Forest. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his snap verdict from Carrow Road

1. Take your pick - Norwich effectively sealed the points in a devastating eight minute burst which included a pair of Carrow Road beauties. Jonny Howson's controlled volley from 20 yards was the incision of a top quality operator. But there was another serious contender for City's goal-of-the-season barely eight minutes later when Wes Hoolahan showed touch, awareness and execution to lob the stricken Stephen Henderson from fully 30 yards. Both goals triggered wonderful eruptions among a home fan base who had been royally treated to two of their best at their very best.

2. Alex Pritchard - Two goals and another influential shift from the young midfielder who is now making it increasingly difficult for Alex Neil to leave him out. So much so it was Pritchard in his favoured number 10 role and Wes Hoolahan operating in the left channel. Both got on the scoresheet, both enjoyed the wide open spaces in front of the Nottingham Forest backline. It may be horses for courses from here on in over the Championship run-in but what a delicious dilemma for the manager to have when both are in this seam of form.

3. Josh Murphy's time - Alex Neil intimated this week that Josh had started to emerge from the shadow cast by his twin, Jacob, for the majority of this breakthrough season. Here was irrefutable proof Josh can leave his mark on Norwich's Championship campaign after a rare league start. The tone was set early in the manner he attacked Daniel Pinillos down the right flank. His goal capped a wonderfully cohesive team move, but the composure to roll a finish underneath the advancing Stephen Henderson should not be downplayed. Neil has made it clear Josh needs to work on his game without the ball, and there may be a case to answer in the manner Ross McCormack ran through unopposed for Forest's late consolation, but this was another step forward.

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4. Home fortress - One defeat in the last eight is promotion form. Sadly, what went before has left City playing catch up. Plus those nagging doubts about their collective ability to resist away from Carrow Road will persist in the manner Wigan hit back earlier in the week. Forget redundant debates about corners being turned and the worst being over. Norwich, unquestionably, have improved dramatically. A new year revival has put them back in the race, but there are plenty of hard yards ahead.

5. Ross McCormack - Bit late perhaps for a pantomime villain. But after McCormack's summer snub and his unhappy spell at Villa Park that led to a January loan move to the East Midlands his latest appearance in Norfolk was always going to be an interesting sub-plot. City fans berated the striker when he appeared for a first half warm up over the highly publicised incident involving McComack's gated residence and his lesss than athletic physique. McCormack responded with a finger to his mouth after lifting a goal over John Ruddy. Norwich fans responded in kind when Alex Pritchard sealed the rout. Few in Norfolk would disagree that was a transfer bullet dodged.