Spud Thornhill: At least there’s some promise waiting in the wings at Norwich City

PUBLISHED: 12:28 13 May 2018

Nelson Oliveira, left, and Sean Raggett - a striker who can't score and a defender waiting in the wings. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Nelson Oliveira, left, and Sean Raggett - a striker who can't score and a defender waiting in the wings. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

©Focus Images Limited +447814 482222

As I walked out of the away end at Hillsborough last week, I was glad to see the back end of what has been such a dismal season.

Onel Hernandez in action - plenty of promise. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdOnel Hernandez in action - plenty of promise. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

It wasn’t the worst by any means, but many Norwich fans were expecting more.

Some of those fans were probably expecting us to be where Cardiff or Wolves were – but then there were the more realistic ones who knew we were in for a tough season.

Whilst there may not have been much success on the pitch, I think there are still some positives we can take into the summer – and those positives are the players waiting in the wings.

First, two players I have really enjoyed watching this season but sadly I may never see in a Norwich shirt again – Angus Gunn and Harrison Reed, with both returning to their parent clubs Manchester City and Southampton respectively. I am sure they have scouts from their clubs watching them and I’m sure with their reports they wouldn’t really want them to return to a mid-table Championship club.

My only hope is Reed will not want to return to the south coast if he is not guaranteed first team football. If some of the reports are true that Ivo Pinto may not be here next season, especially with only a year left on his contract, Reed will be a perfect replacement. Whilst Pinto was out, Reed was fantastic – I actually preferred him in the right back spot.

On to the goalkeeper position, which is one I’m slightly worried about. I doubt Gunn will be here. Will Daniel Farke want Michael McGovern as his number one? He’s another one with only a year left on his contract and one who’ll be 34 by the time season starts, so I doubt it. So that leaves Remi Matthews who, by all reports, had a very successful loan spell at Plymouth Argyle.

Matthews made 24 league appearances for the Pilgrims, keeping 11 clean sheets. Now he is 24 years old I’m sure he is ready – and being one of our own, I do hope the supporters support him like they did Gunn.

In I wonder if Timm Klose will still be here – he’s a player with only a year left on his contract. Will Stuart Webber and Farke try to unload him in the summer? Whilst I hope not, I can see it happening. If he goes, I honestly think we have a quality replacement in Sean Raggett. I think we all agree both Christoph Zimmerman and Grant Hanley have had good first seasons in Canary colours as well.

I would like maybe better competition for Jamal Lewis at left-back, as I don’t feel comfortable with James Husband or Marco Stiepermann as back-up.

Midfield should be interesting next season, whether James Maddison is here or not. It is excellent news that Alex Tettey is staying on – his experience and the presence of Tom Trybull is so vital for our young squad. With Ben Godfrey, Todd Cantwell and Kenny McClean having reportedly successful loan spells, I just hope they can do it with us. Then there is Louis Thompson. Before his original set-back in November 2016, in the few games I saw him play, I honestly thought we had a class player. I just hope for his sake that this really is the end of his injury problems.

We know the potential of Josh Murphy and Onel Hernandez – they are two players who could have a massive part to play in our season next year.

Before anyone thinks I believe everything is perfect, don’t worry – I don’t.

It’s not hard to work out our biggest problem – it’s our strike force. We had numerous games last season where we were dominating possession but still failing to score. Last season, our strikers accounted for just 10 goals, with only two of them since Christmas. Absolutely shocking stats.

It appears the club are obsessed with getting midfielders. Whilst it may be important to find another gem in midfield like Maddison, I honestly believe the most important thing to sort out this summer is in the goal-scoring department, because if we don’t we will be back to square one, when Farke arrived.

So it’s over to Webber and Farke to find that goalscorer – if not we may have another dismal season.

Enjoy your summer, fellow Canaries and see you in August.


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