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Norwich City column: Upcoming games against Rotherham United, Stoke City and Plymouth Argyle are crucial to Canaries’ Championship play-off hopes

Wednesday night’s defeat at Middlesbrough feels like a major setback in Norwich City’s quest for a play-off place.

Three points would have been enough to elevate us into the top six, providing a monumental boost heading into the final 10 games of the season.

However, David Wagner’s side succumbed to a 3-1 defeat at the Riverside – the latest in an ever-growing sequence of poor away results.

Norwich City columnist Edward Seaman
Norwich City columnist Edward Seaman

Look, there is no doubt the key moment in the game was the dismissal of Borja Sainz. At that moment, we were 1-0 up courtesy of an Ashley Barnes goal and in total control.

What followed was a disappointing collapse, as we failed to adequately deal with the numerical disadvantage.

On the red card itself, I thought it was an absolute disgrace. I’ve seen numerous replays and I can’t quite fathom how the referee has come to the conclusion that Sainz has kicked out at former City player Jonny Howson (who failed to cover himself in glory).

Listening to Wagner, we will rightfully appeal the decision, but should that be rejected (and you never know with the EFL) – Sainz will miss the next four games.

That would be a real blow for a side already desperately short of wide options, with Jonathan Rowe still injured and Onel Hernandez out for the season with a broken foot.

The only positive is that Sainz would be back in time for the East Anglian derby, which is gearing up to be crucial for both sides.

But we can’t sit here and feel sorry for ourselves.

The race for the play-offs is still very much on, with bottom side Rotherham the visitors to Carrow Road this weekend. We follow that up with fixtures against two other relegation-threatened sides in Stoke and Plymouth.

Simply put, we need to be looking at nine points from those set of fixtures.

That would really put the pressure on Hull, who face both Leicester and Leeds in their next three games.

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