City boss Glenn Roeder today revealed his over-riding ambition for that crucial home clash with Coventry City – to send every Canary punter home with a smile on their face.
Even at eight days distant, it is already looming large on the horizon – an occasion when Roeder's new regime can, finally, start to get the wheels turning again.
Assistant boss in place; coach arrived; Martin Taylor fit; Matty Pattison in; another loan in; Dion Dublin fit – for now, they are all just bits and pieces. Put together, however, and it could just prove enough to fire the bottom-of-the-table Canaries into life.
With ugly-looking away trips to first Blackpool and then Stoke City to follow, Norwich desperately need the shot-in-the-arm that three points would generate. Roeder isn't, he insisted, looking any further ahead than five o'clock next Saturday. One small step at a time.
“That's the trouble – people look too far ahead and trip over themselves. What's the point?” he said this morning, as he unveiled Mr Pattison to the media.
“I've only got focus on Coventry. I've only got a focus on winning a game of football at home – and sending our supporters home happy instead of sad.”
It has, by any measure, been the most miserable of seasons. One point from the last 33, five points from the last 42, bottom of the table, effectively seven points off safety… reasons to be utterly down-hearted are not too hard to find.
Hence's Roeder's determination to bring the first chink of light into peoples' lives; to put a few more smiles on faces; to put a few more bums on seats in the city's bars and clubs afterwards.
“The supporters have been sent home sad too much this season; there's been too much crying around the place,” said Roeder, proving stubbornly optimistic and upbeat about Norwich's chances of beating the drop.
For most, 40 points from the next 30 games is the bare minimum; Roeder has his sights set on merely three.
“It's about home that we sent them flooding into the city – and then getting home a bit later than they would normally do – because they want to celebrate a win,” said Roeder, his experiences of life in the Toon still fresh in his memory.
“At Newcastle, the feeling of warmth of sending 52,000 supporters racing into the town – actually, they do that on a Saturday night anyway – but a bit quicker and for a bit longer is something that made me happy.”
Less than a month into his new job and he has already picked up the fact that Canary spirits are, probably, at their lowest ebb for two generations. Even in the darkest days of the Robert Chase era relegation to the third tier of English football was never really on the cards.
“It must be horrible – horrible – being a Norwich City supporter right now,” said the City boss, well aware that heads are down in his new, adopted home.
“I've been in the town a few times and I don't like wandering round the town – you don't really want to be seen.
“But that's how I feel about football – it's a winning game. And the players have got to feel like that,” said Roeder, laying another little gauntlet at their feet.
“If they're walking round the town thinking: 'Heh, I play for Norwich…' – I wouldn't be proud at the moment. I would not be proud,” said Roeder, showing more of a genuine feeling for 'Joe Supporter' than one or two managers. Certainly far more than many a player.
“I'd be hurting terribly where I wouldn't want to go out. I'd want to stay in,” he added.
“But because I like to go out, I need to win a game of football. It's as simple as that. And if you're the other way, it means you don't care enough. It means you do not care enough.
“If you're happy leading a normal social life where we are in the table… That's how it has got to be.”
Given his own experiences at West Ham United, football is not life and death. He has long gone on record as saying that society's real heroes are the surgeons, the doctors and the nurses that all combined to save his life in 2003, but results have to matter to the players. For they sure matter to everyone else.
“It's not quite life or death – I know that for myself with my own problems with my brain tumour – but I tell you what, we've got to win. For our supporters must be absolutely bleeding at the moment.
“Haemorrhaging. And we've got to stop it.”
Hence Taylor's arrival. Hence Pattison's arrival. Roeder was also expecting the final details with Hartlepool to resolve themselves shortly re the appointment of their youth coach Paul Stephenson – a man who can “light up a room with his smile” according to his one-time Newcastle skipper.
The real interest, however, will come next week as the new City chief looks to bolt loans No3 and No4 into his City side; both would appear to be on the move; one, at least, appears to involve a big-money buy who cannot, as yet, force his way into someone's Premiership thinking.
Young, hungry and, it appears, determined to prove a point to his Premiership manager, should Taylor shrug off his groin troubles in time and Roeder could yet be fielding the maximum of five loans for the Sky Blues clash.
All of which might not leave any room in the final 16 for Jimmy Smith if Roeder manages to add three more names to those of Taylor and Pattison.
“I'll be very disappointed if I don't get two – and I'll get three if I can,” said the City boss, having long since worked out just what Peter Grant has left him to play with. Hence the reason why he is pulling every last favour he can out of his Premiership pals and acquaintances.
“I'm in the process of talking to two clubs about two players – and both clubs have been positive about letting the players come,” he said. “And I know that the players will come.”