City's preparations for Saturday's home clash with a now all-but doomed Colchester United were not helped this morning by a national newspaper giving it very large on Matty 'Party' Pattison's run in with the law on Sunday morning.
While still dressed in his underpants, according to this morning's Daily Mirror, who elected to run the 21-year-old's arrest for an alleged drink-driving offence at Colney on Sunday all over their back page.
He was – according to The Mirror – also minus his shoes. He is also – according to The Mirror – now heading off to Tony Adams' Sporting Chance Rehab clinic on Glenn Roeder's insistence in a bid to cure his alleged drink problems.
With the Canaries, for now, not adding anything more to the statement they issued on Sunday night, officially The Mirror story stands. Unofficially and well-placed sources were starting to point fingres at some colourful 'spin' – no-one was aware of the nickname 'Party'; he wasn't in his pants; as of this morning, he was training as usual at Colney and hadn't checked into the Hampshire clinic that has played host to the likes of Paul Merson, Paul Gascoigne and, most recently, Joey Barton.
Indeed, while the whole incident clearly has very serious over-tones and implications with the South African-born midfielder now due to appear before Norwich magistrates on March 31, Pattison is hardly in the same league as Messrs Merson, Gascoigne and Barton.
As one, seasoned national hack suggested, most people's reaction to this morning's back-page lead in The Mirror will be more 'Matty, Matty who..? than 'No, he never…'
It all clouded a slightly brighter morning as both Wolves and Hull City did the rest of the relegation pack a favour by continuing to nail Scunthorpe United and Colchester United to the floor of the Championship. All of which, the theory goes, should just leave one ticket to League One up for grabs.
Colchester are now 11 points adrift of safety with just seven games left and face a nigh-on impossible task.
Defeat at Carrow Road on Saturday would not make the Us mathematical certainties for the drop, but in every realistic likelihood it would then only need one more nail in the coffin to send the luckless Essex side down.
Certainly Miss Fortune has dogged their every move this season – the arrival of the on-loan Izale McLeod being a prime example as he lasted little more than a game before his season ended with a serious knee injury.
Last night and it was referee Pat Miller playing his part as he dismissed Phil Ifil after just 14 minutes of the Tigers' clash. Frazier Campbell then took full advantage with two goals in 13 minutes to seemingly cement Hull's place in the top six come May.
But full credit to Geraint Williams' charges – they had enough about them even with ten men to pull a goal back via one-time Canary loan signing Kevin Lisbie and it was not until three minutes from the end that Caleb Folan made the result safe.
The Us will arrive in Norfolk this weekend with warning bells attached; there is very little to suggest that spirit-wise they are a spent force. Quite the reverse, in fact.
“They gave 100% and were absolutely devastated in the dressing room,” said Williams afterwards, as they gave Hull – 5-0 victors over Southampton on Saturday – a real contest.
“I'm proud of them because that team came here in form, with an extra man for that long and they couldn't close the game out,” said Williams, well aware that his side came within inches of grabbing a leveller before Folan's late, late heart-breaker.
“I thought the lads were magnificent and until that third goal went in we were still in the game,” re-iterated their manager, “Platty had a great chance at the start of the second half, and they created a few.
“Just after (we scored the first) the ball was nearly bundled in, I thought it cleared the line but it obviously hadn't, and then Clive Platt got in at the start of the second half so it wasn't a one-off thing us creating chances with the ten men.”
There was very little finger-pointing going on in what was the last-ever game under the floodlights at Layer Road. The Us now look certain to open the doors to their new home at Cuckoo Farm this summer by playing host to League One football.
But the manner in which an emotional Williams was speaking suggests that, in his eyes, a new team is being forged in the midst of all their adversity. That alone ought to make City very wary.
“I'm very proud of the players, we were down to ten men early on and the game was only decided really in the last four or five minutes. That shows how well the lads did. We were pushing forward and with the pace they had up front, when they get in behind you're not going to catch them and in the 86th minute that's what happened,” said the Us boss, with the fight set to continue this weekend against their East Anglian neighbours.
“While it's mathematically possible we keep going to look for the win, and even if it isn't mathematically possible to stay up we'll still go looking for a win and three points because that's what the players here are like,” vowed Williams.
“They've given their all every game this year, and if you come up short after that you have to look at yourselves and think right, what weren't we good enough at? And we need to improve, but as long as that effort and 100% commitment is there, then you can't ask anymore and that's certainly the case at the moment.”