If City boss Peter Grant were allowed one extra wish for tomorrow's opening Championship home clash against Southampton over and above his first three points of the new season, it might well revolve around his Czech new-boy David Strihavka.
For while there is every chance that Chris Brown will – rightly – getting the starting nod alongside Jamie Cureton for the Saints game, you still sense that the Canary manager would like nothing better if Strihavka could, for example, mark his second-half arrival with a goal.
It would be due reward for the efforts the 24-year-old has made on the language front after arriving from Banik Ostrava with a well-thumbed English phrase-book in tow – as well as the unstinting efforts Grant sees on the training ground as Strihavka looks to make the huge cultural and physical leap from the Czech Premier League to the Championship.
It may also explain, in part, his frustration with Cureton for not rolling the ball back to his second-half strike partner in Tuesday's schizophrenic Carling Cup success over Barnet.
?Even in the game the other night there, David gets into some great positions,? said Grant, at yesterday's pre-match Press conference at Colney.
?And in that second-half I felt for him a little bit because Jamie should have rolled the ball across to him and it was a goal. And in training he's understanding now exactly what to do without him having to be told as often because sometimes the language barrier gives you a problem – his English is getting better every day,? added Grant, as his East European import – closely tracked by both Red Star Belgrade and Greek giants Olympiakos before his summer switch to Norfolk – begins to find his feet.
Feet found, the hope is that the form the took him to the top of the Czech Premier League goal-scoring charts last season will then swiftly follow.
?You can see in the football in his training that he's assessing what he's doing – that when he's not got the ball he's picking up areas to receive the ball.
?Every time the ball is wide, he's in a fantastic position to put the ball in the net. And I'm sure that if he'd have been on in the first-half on Tuesday, he'd have scored two or three,? said Grant, after that five-goal, 30-minute blitz against Barnet.
?And, as I say, Jmaie's situation just summed it up really. He gets in a fantastic position and Jamie just rolls it across… And you can see his disappointment.
?And that's what I say to people when they say: 'Oh, he's not scored yet, he's not scored yet… He's not done this, he's not done that…' – that he could have had his goal. And there's no doubt in my mind that he should have had his goal.
?But, as I say, I see improvement in him every day and I knew that it would take time for him to settle in te Championship because the Championship is a different beast altogether. But I'd have no fear in playing him – I think he's proved that in the last few weeks to me.?
The one fast proving himself at this level is former Crewe full-back Jon Otsemobor. Left more debilitated than most by the sickness bug that swept through the football club in the week before the season started, the one-time Liverpool starlet looked distinctly under-powered at Deepdale last Saturday in City's chance-less 0-0 draw with Ppreston North End.
Come the first minute against Barnet, however, and the 24-year-old free arrival was back at full throttle – surging deep into the opposition half with genuine pace and menace.
?I think in the first seconds of the game he's made a burst – and that excites people,? said Grant, with Otsemobor – alongside keeper David Marshall – thus far looking the pick of his summer arrivals.
?And that's why I tried to get him here for when I knew he was going to be available – because I think he gives you that and he's got good quality with the ball.
?He uses the ball well and, as I say, he's been schooled in the proper manner. At Liverpool and Crewe – they want to pass the ball.?
Again, it goes back to Grant's love of balance. That just as Adam Drury away on the left is comfortable enough on the edge of the opposition penalty area, so too is Otsemobor.
And given the chess-game congestion that all too often breaks out in the central midfield areas, there is a modern day school of thought that insists that full-backs are now the game's most influential players – certainly the players that can enjoy the most space if they are willing to take the ball on and run.
?The one thing that I wanted to bring was people that weren't frightened to go over the half-way line and he definitely brings that to us. And that electric pace,? said Grant, clearly intent on getting Otsemobor's opposing marker rocking on the back foot.
?I always say that, yes, wide players always want to keep you on your back-foot but it is always more important that he watch what they're doing in the opposite direction as well – and he's doing that.?
Not that he is the finished article either.
?He knows he still has to improve – and he'll do that. He'll get better the more games that he plays.
?He knows that, defensively, he lets himself down in certain aspects but then I can say that about Roberto Carlos.
?You never get a player that's 100 per cent at everything, but Jon's got a hell of a lot of attributes and I'm sure he can be a major success here if he listens and learns.?