Roeder ready for overhaul

Glenn Roeder has seen enough and has promised changes at Norwich City. He has a two-week break in which to plot a course for survival. City correspondent CHRIS LAKEY looks at what the new manager faces.

Glenn Roeder has seen enough and has promised changes at Norwich City. He has a two-week break in which to plot a course for survival. City correspondent CHRIS LAKEY looks at what the new manager faces.

Norwich City players will head for training this week knowing that, without exception, no one is safe from the wrath of Glenn Roeder.

The new Canaries manager will cut a swathe through the squad of 22 recognised first team players, weeding out the dead wood and replacing it with new, albeit temporary, life. The task is to ensure that, come the first week in May next year, enough of the rot has been cleared to prevent the complete and utter collapse of the structure that is Norwich City Football Club.

The facts are simple: City are currently the worst performing team of the season in the Football League. Nine points from 16 games is the worst return of all 72 clubs outside the top flight - where only Premier League newcomers Derby County are worse than Norwich.

They have fewer wins than anyone in the Championship - bar fellow strugglers Crystal Palace, who also have just the two three-point hauls on their cards. They have been beaten more times than anyone else and they have scored fewer goals than anyone else. if there has been a strength, it's been in defence - but even then City still have the third worst goals against record in the division, with only Southampton and Colchester below them. Their goal difference remains at -16 - the worst in the division by some distance.

City have 30 games remaining, and on current form they will win just five more points. Relegation, on that calculation and assumption, is inevitable.

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Roeder likes his statistics. He took West Ham to seventh in the Premier League in his first season, before they were relegated the following year. They amassed 53 points then an otherwise 42 when they went down. Add up the points of Sam Allardyce, Alan Curbishley and Steve McClaren - and Roeder's total is better.

As for Newcastle, his number crunching shows that, outside of Kevin Keegan, he and Bobby Robson had the best win ratio.

But he won't like the look of Norwich City's statistics one little bit.

Roeder has to act fast: in his first two weeks at Norwich he has been able to see every outfield player bar the injured Mark Fotheringham and loan players Ryan Jarvis and Bally Smart. His opinions will have been formed from the derby draw against Ipswich - a false dawn and a false environment given the opposition - the home defeat by leaders Watford and Saturday's grim loss at Plymouth.

At the moment, those opinions are general, rather than specific: Roeder refuses to point the finger at individuals, but as the next two weeks unfold, and assuming he has been able to bring in the personnel he wants, we should have a clearer idea of the individuals he believes are not up to scratch.

Then, the Roeder regime begins. Again. He has, he says, now had a chance to see exactly what he has inherited from the ill-fated Peter Grant regime - oh to be a fly on the wall when he and his assistant, Lee Clark, discuss that particular subject.

They will look down the list and pick out maybe half a dozen players who, in an ideal world, they would select. Goalkeeper David Marshall has to be one, along with Dion Dublin and Darren Huckerby and on-loan central defender Martin Taylor, whose signing belied the myth that you couldn't bring in a centre-half for love nor money. Adam Drury's value is revealed when you're without him, while Jamie Cureton has been a victim of a lack of quality elsewhere. Give him the service and he'll score. Luke Chadwick has emerged as one of the better players under Roeder's short reign to date, but after that it's difficult to find the shoo-ins.

Lee Croft's season hasn't started because he hasn't been first choice, while Darel Russell has ploughed a lonely furrow in midfield, without the creative sidekick next to him.

And the rest? They're the ones who will feel the sword of Damocles hanging by a thread above their heads.

Roeder hasn't named his targets, but the evidence suggests that we were right when we named Newcastle's out-of-favour striker Shola Ameobi. Add the reported interest in Birmingham left-back Mat Sadler and you start to see that Roeder is going for a short, sharp fix so that Norwich City's position isn't too far gone come the turn of the year.

Roeder is opting for players he knows can do a job, not diving into unknown waters and taking a gamble. And he is also opting for players who just might have a point to prove to their managers: they're not in favour at their clubs, they could be on the way their way in January but they, and their clubs, need a shop window. Norwich is perfect. A good Premier League players comes here, does well, Norwich benefit, the player benefits and his parent club benefits. Everyone, in theory, is happy.

It depends on getting the right players but if Taylor is anything to go by, Roeder has done his homework.

There are no gambles. Now is not the time for risk; now is the time for doing whatever it takes to extricate City from a very smelly mess.