In theory, such nights as tonight give everyone involved the chance to show The Gaffer what he’s missing; that they should be figuring somewhat larger in Alex Neil’s league plans.
Ex-Pompey keeper Paul Jones might be the slight exception to that particular rule given his status as cover for Norwich’s two mainstays, but otherwise everyone else should be stating their case for inclusion at the weekend.
Given three of the names in the back four that welcomed Coventry City to this neck of the woods in this evening’s EFL Cup second round tie, Neil would not have gone into the game expecting to concede.
Likewise the fact that City’s visitors were struggling at the foot of the League One table ought, in theory, to have led to an easy night out – for those eager to impress.
For those eager to state their case to the manager – where it matters. On the pitch. In front of goal. Be that goal at one end of the pitch – or the other.
That’s three times the words ‘in theory’ have peppered this column.
And after the better part of 25 years reporting the affairs of Norwich City, theory rarely – if ever – matches reality in cup competitions.
Norwich normally stink the house out when it comes to putting such theory into practice.
Tonight, however, and the theory held. A 6-1 success blasted Norwich into the third round of a cup competition.
And found one or two people proving their points to the watching manager – or watching scouts if one wants to be a little cynical.
Kyle Lafferty was the first to catch the eye with the game’s opening goal.
What it proves – and to whom – might still be something of a moot point. But as his international record proves, there is a player in there. When there wants to be.
Second up came City’s teenage recruit from Liverpool as Sergi Canos curled one home, before adding a second to his night’s haul late in the game as the Sky Blues wilted before the yellow tide.
Perhaps the Spanish youth international is smarting from his lack of first team action – as might young Jacob of the Murphy twins who grabbed his second of the season for the fourth.
Or if not smarting, keen to offer a timely reminder to the boss of his blossoming talent as and when injury allows.
The third was skipper Russell Martin offering evidence to a spoilt manager that he has a certain eye for goal still and that with Timm Klose and Ryan Bennett locking up the centre-back berths, maybe space should be found for the ever-loyal City servant.
The sixth and final goal of the night came from debutant Ben Godfrey.
The former York City midfield starlet who arrived in Norfolk in the midst of the last transfer window. Him.
Billed as ‘one for the future’ on his arrival, maybe the kid thinks he’s more one for the present. Or, at least, one for the first team bus.
The only blip on an otherwise good night’s work came in the shape of a Coventry penalty converted by Ruben Lameiras.
Oh, never mind.
If Carlsberg did early cup rounds, tonight’s was probably it.
Coventry are poor. The table might not lie.
But 201 poor teams have rocked up at Carrow Road before now and left the Canaries to concentrate on the league in their wake.
More importantly, they leave a nasty taste in the mouth with supporters that have paid good money to attend – only for Norwich to no-show.
Tonight Alex Neil fielded a completely new XI from the side that dug a derby point out of Suffolk on Sunday – and they delivered a result that suggests there is more by way of hunger than hangover left on the playing fields of Colney.
Tonight is one to be enjoyed.
As is a third round draw with a Norwich ball in the hat.
How about that?