City boss Paul Lambert has again re-iterated his number one priority for this season – survival.
For whilst the Canaries might remain firmly in the midst of the play-off pack even after Saturday’s unwelcome home reverse against Portsmouth, for the Canary chief this is no time to start dreamily looking upwards.
His focus remains on what lies beneath – to ensure that the Norfolk club are not returned to sender at the first time of asking.
Everything thereafter might be deemed a bonus; it is a simple philosophy that he’s shared with one or two of his predecessors. Hit that 50-point survival mark as soon as possible and then see where the world takes you from there.
“At the minute we’re hanging in there with the top group,” Lambert told the latest edition of the Football League’s newsletter.
“There’s not much in it and we’ve been playing brilliantly, but I just want to survive.
“That’s my main concern – and if we survive we’ll be doing alright.”
The vast majority of City supporters might suggest that the club are already doing more than alright this season; to most outsiders, the look a decent bet to be there or thereabouts come the business end of the season.
There or thereabouts in the top bit of the table; not the bottom.
But Lambert is clearly one of those who plants his feet firmly on the floor and is not about to get too carried away by Norwich’s excellent start to the new campaign.
There hopes of avoiding the drop – ideally before January is out – have clearly been boosted by the arrival of Gunners’ youngster Henri Lansbury.
Interestingly, Lambert revealed that he has long been an admirer of the England Under-21 midfielder; having seen him play for his two other loan clubs.
“I saw him playing for Scunthorpe and Watford and you could tell he was a very talented player,” Lambert said, that much being evident on Lansbury’s derby debut with the slide-rule ball for Grant Holt’s second goal.
“He’s certainly got an eye for a pass,” said Lambert. “He made a fantastic pass for one of Grant Holt’s goals against Ipswich – and he’s getting better with each and every game.
“I get the feeling that he’s going to be a really top player.”
His gratitude to Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was clear; the fact that Lansbury was once on Norwich’s books as a young teenager makes his ‘home-coming’ just that little bit extra sweet.
“I’m delighted that Arsenal let him come to us when I’m sure there were other clubs in for him,” said Lambert.
Tonight and the Canary chief could be found in the crowd at Clipbush Park as a Norwich City XI cruised comfortably into the fifth round of the Norfolk Senior Cup with a 3-0 win over Fakenham Town.
Oli Johnson scored twice with Luke Daley adding the third as the county’s premier professional outfit booked themselves a home game at Carrow Road in the fifth round against Norwich United.
It says much about Lambert’s need for competitive fixtures to top up players match fitness that tonight’s side featured nine players with first team experience – including such regular faces as Korey Smith, Michael Nelson and Jens Berthel Askou.
For the county’s non-league sides, having a Norwich City XI in the competition must be something of a mixed blessing.
It probably added another 0 or two onto tonight’s attendance at Clipbush Park and the players of Norwich United can now look forward to a decent night out at Carrow Road.
Whether any of them harbour any ambitions of actually lifting the trophy against their professional peers is another matter – particular when, with the manager watching from the stands, those involved in said ‘Norwich City XI’ do their best to catch the Gaffer’s eye ahead of this weekend’s trip to Coventry City.
But, given the shambles that is Football League reserve team football, needs must games-wise.
And given the relative lack of travelling time involved compared to an away trip to Bristol Rovers or other far-flung corners of reserve team football, City’s involvement in the Norfolk Senior Cup this season has its advantages.