Norwich Fan View: 'No-one saw promotion push coming'

20th Dec 2018

Norwich City were not in the promotion picture at the start of the season, but Daniel Farke's side are now knocking on the Premier League door courtesy of a superb run of form.

The Canaries have stormed towards the automatic places and we spoke to Jon Punt of 'Along Come Nodgeto find out whether the Carrow Road faithful is getting carried away or staying cautious about the club's hopes of a return to the top flight.

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Did you ever imagine at the start of the season that you would be sitting in an automatic promotion place for Christmas?

"The short answer is a resounding no. Anything that represented progress this season  - based on the fact we found ourselves 14th at the end of last term - would have been acceptable.

"I optimistically predicted we’d finish 7th but that was in blind hope more than anything else, given that last season’s stand-out performer - James Maddison - swanned off to Leicester shortly after Josh Murphy also went for an eight figure fee.

"The fact that Farke and sporting director Stuart Webber have moulded this squad into a cohesive unit, at the same time bringing a lot more attacking impetus and intelligence to our possession based style, is ridiculous. No-one in Norfolk saw this coming. And that’s a bit of an issue now.

"None of us really know where we ‘should’ finish come May. Any team residing in the top two at Christmas can rightly be hoping of a tilt toward automatic promotion, but it would be very ‘Norwich’ to fall away with a whimper post Christmas.

"Success was a top six spot, yet now we have far loftier ambitions. Don’t tell anyone though."

Can your squad last the course in the promotion race?

"They can, but it doesn’t mean that they will. The squad is a lot deeper compared to last season and, with the exception of left back, Norwich genuinely have two players for every position.

"They all seem to be able to slide into the team seamlessly too. The League Cup tie at Bournemouth was testament to that, Farke made eight or nine changes to the starting 11 yet the style of football remained unchanged and we were seriously unlucky not to progress.

"However, injuries to key positions would be a worry – if the likes of Tim Krul, Timm Klose, Alex Tettey, Moritz Leitner and Teemu Pukki remain relatively injury free for the remainder of the campaign then we have a real chance."

How important will the festive fixtures be? Blackburn, Forest, Derby, Brentford represent some tricky games to contend with.

"As always the festive fixture list is important, but not season defining. The run of fixtures beyond 1st January look difficult too, but if we can make it into February still in the automatic spots then it’s ours to lose.

"The key may well be to not lose to the likes of Derby and Forest – which in turn means they can’t make up any ground."

Where do you think Farke will look to strengthen in the January transfer window?

"It’s difficult to see where he needs to strengthen. One of the keys to our success so far is the fact we have a closely bonded group who all get what the head coach is trying to implement.

"Tinkering with that formula may well be counter intuitive. However, if we were to look at a couple of positions which could do with cover then left-back and a defensive midfielder would be the top of my list.

"If I was being greedy I’d also like another pacey winger, as Onel Hernández is the only real option we have in that department."

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