Across the Border: City’s promotion chances set to be given a big test
In the next few weeks the promotion picture will become much clearer for Norwich City.
Tomorrow’s visit to West Brom marks the start of a run of fixtures which will also see Daniel Farke’s Canaries take on Leeds and Sheffield United – the three teams who alongside City make up the current top four.
Those fixtures sandwich a visit to Carrow Road from Birmingham, meaning by early February that City will have played each of the other sides in the top eight heading into this weekend’s fixtures – excluding Middlesbrough – twice.
Cynics will say that come the end of the season, every team will have played each other home and away, but you just feel if City can make it through this tough period intact, then the chances of promotion go up a notch.
That’s also not to disrespect any of the other clubs in this division, but with more than half of the season gone, teams are where they are on merit.
Naturally at this time of year, thoughts turn to the transfer market – but I would be surprised to see City do much business in January.
While a number of fringe players may follow Matt Jarvis out of the door, I think Farke will settle for maintaining a tight-knit, well-balanced squad.
Despite defeat against Portsmouth in the FA Cup, I thought the performance of 10-man City showed there is enough squad depth at the club, with the returning Kenny McLean perhaps the most impressive performer.
The biggest disappointment was the early dismissal of Grant Hanley, one of those desperate for minutes as he looks to force his way back into Farke’s starting line-up.
As mentioned, first up is a trip to the Hawthorns, with City looking to protect an 11-game unbeaten away run in the league. While the game is certainly significant, Farke’s young Canaries have nothing to fear.