After adding three more loan signings to his squad, having enjoyed the luxury of a couple injured players report fit back from injury and a two-week breather to fully assess the current plight here at Norwich, new City boss Glenn Roeder issued a rallying cry before Canaries faced Coventry with a statement that would have left the players in no doubts whatsoever that it was now time for business.
?I want a performance on Saturday,? he said matter-of-factly.
Crystal clear. No coma-inducing, protracted ramblings about systems, formations or attitudes and ethics.
Just six words arranged into a sentence forming an order go out and deliver the goods.
Did he get one?
Well, yes he did. He certainly did. And thank heavens that he did too, otherwise where the hell would we have gone from here?
Whatever, because City certainly won't be retuning to the dark days of their early season form in a hurry in this sort of form, that's for sure.
It's at this point that I do accept it might be remiss to avoid adding a word of caution following a statement like the one above – especially when there has been instances of a team having done precisely that and quickly returned to sub-standard displays after having briefly raised the hopes of its supporters with an uplifting performance.
But considering that the City faithful haven't really even been afforded anything remotely approaching that particular scenario this season – Ipswich game aside- which doesn't really count – I don't think I'll bother!
From start to finish on Saturday the Canaries delivered precisely the type of performance that Roeder, along with the rest of us, is so desperate to see.
Passion, energy, determination and – for once – a genuine threat on the opposition goalmouth.
In a nutshell, everything that has by and large been so pitifully missing this season, but which when delivered in abundance like this totally transforms the team from looking nailed on relegation certainties to? well? a damn decent side.
There were stars in every department of the team yesterday.
David Marshall and his defence battled for every ball as though their lives depended on it, likewise in midfield where debutant Pattison and Chadwick, and particularly Russell and Fotheringham had seemingly adopted the philosophies of 'Run till you drop…' and 'Tackle it if it moves…' as being the order of the day, while in attack Dublin and Cureton provided a more than adequate outlet and focal point for the team's attacks.
The crowd lapped it up, and the sight of Roeder punching the air with delight at the final whistle told it's own story and gave more than a slight indication that he felt that this was exactly the type of display he had been eager for and which will hopefully now become the rule rather than the exception to the rule.
Call it being picky, but there is still plenty of room for improvement here, because visitors Coventry had a good fair few chances of their own and the game was far too open and entertaining than City should have allowed it to be ? especially after they had taken the lead.
But in a season bereft of any excitement and when more often than not depression and misery has sadly accompanied the supporters as they have made their way home, perhaps best not to worry too much on that score for the time being.
No, after a superb effort like this, an excellent victory and a clean sheet to boot, the players can take a well-deserved bow.
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