Versatile City midfielder Luke Chadwick described this weekend's derby draw with Ipswich Town as his best performance yet in a Canary shirt as all eyes now turn to this evening's clash against league leaders Watford.
The 26-year-old, installed away on the right ahead of Lee Croft, proved a constant menace against the neighbours and could have scored one of the great derby goals deep in the second-half when his fabulous, drag-back and turn left two Town defenders trailing and Neil Alexander's goal at his mercy.
Not for the first time, the Town keeper would ride to Jim Magilton's rescue with another fine, spreading save as Chadwick thoroughly merited his start ahead of Croft.
After a long and difficult first year in Norfolk, it would be nice to think that the one-time Manchester United starlet was about to blossom under Glenn Roeder's thoughtful man management.
“Was that my best performance for Norwich? Yes, definitely,” said Chadwick, as the Canaries look to continue to claw their way off the bottom against Aidy Boothroyd's high-flying Hornets.
“Last season I didn't hardly play with a lot of injuries,” added Chadwick, the most horrific of which came on his derby debut at Portman Road where he impaled himself on the corner of an advertising hoarding and found himself in Ipswich General Hospital for four days.
Little wonder at his delight at his latest derby outing.
“We've not started this season well, but the new manager's come in and we've put in a good performance – in fact, I think we should have won the game,” said Chadwick, handed that priceless boost confidence-wise of being in the new man's first starting XI.
Given that Darren Huckerby is now on a three-match ban following his late red card on Sunday and the fact that Simon Lappin is likely to be deputising for Adam Drury at left-back for the forseeable, so opportunity would now appear to knock for Chadwick to enjoy a decent run in the side – be it either on the right or on the left.
With Dion Dublin definitely ruled out with a hamstring strain, Roeder will be foreced into make at least two changes tonight. Whether he deems John Hartson fit enough to start a game will be just one of a number of intetesting decisions facing Roeder and his new No2, Lee Clark.
Rewarding Chadwick with a second, successive start would appear to be one of his more simpler ones.
“It does boost your confidence when the manager picks the team and you're in it.
“And it was a good performance by all the players. It was just not the result that we were looking for.”
Even though the Canaries fell two points short of their ideal target, Chadwick insists the club are now heading back in the right direction – providing they can avoid being too badly stung by the Hornets tonight.
“I think we've all got a lot of confidence about getting out of the position that we're in,” said the City midfielder, whose ability to drift in off that far flank and pop up just off the front two caused Town all manner of problems.
“We've got a lot of good players here and, obviously, while it was good to come back from being 2-0 down, I don't think we should have been 2-0 down in the first-half because I thought we played quite well.”
Quizzed as to what the difference was, and Chadwick – like one or two before him – reached out for the R-word. There was none of the near-religious intensity that the previous regime brought to bear on proceedings.
“I think everyone was just a bit more relaxed,” said Chadwick. “And when we were relaxed, we played some good football. We did some good passing and we all worked hard as well.
“And when you put the two together, then you get a good performance.”
The Roeder-effect was, it seems, starting to work. “The new manager has come in and has given us all a lot of belief; training's been good; we've had a bit of a laugh.
“It's been fun – but we've worked hard as well. And all the lads knitted together well on Sunday.”
And one that could have been capped by a quite memorable goal.
“It was a great chance really – everyone just seemed to disappear,” said Chadwick, suddenly all on his lonesome in that inside right channel as Alexander started to advance.
“I was then one-one-one with the keeper and I think that if I'd have kept it on the floor it would have gone in. But it wasn't a great finish and it was disappointing not to have scored.”
In fairness to the Town No1, Chadwick wasn't the only one who struggled to find a way beyond him.
“He made some good saves and I think that if it weren't for him, I think maybe we could have won the game.”
Five points clear of the rest of the Championship, Watford will offer another stiff test of City's resolve. Chadwick, however, appears unmoved as Norwich – finally – show the first signs of doing what it says they should be able to do on the side of the tin.
“Yes, they're a good team, but I think if you look at the Championship there isn't a team that is that much better than anyone else, really,” said Chadwick.
“The teams are pretty even. Anyone can beat anyone on the day – and I'm sure we'll be going into the game looking to get the three points.”
Given City's all-too precarious position at the very foot of the table, they cannot afford to slip back into one or two old ways – the famed new manager 'bounce' has to be more than one game long.
“I think that's what we've got to do,” said Chadwick. “We're in a bad position and we've got to keep producing performances like that to get out of trouble.”