City boss Glenn Roeder this morning gave his Canary squad a clean bill of health as he insisted the pressure was all on the visiting U's to deliver tomorrow.
Rooted to the very foot of the Championship and all but already down among the dead men, it would be Geraint Williams' team feeling the real heat, not Norwich.
That said, having been in the audience at Layer Road on Tuesday night the Canary boss knows that they won't be going down without a fight.
“I would say that the pressure is greater on Colchester,” said Roeder at Colney this morning, quizzed as to whether – given the fact that most observers have already written the U's off – the pressure had actually lifted, in a certain way, from their shoulders. There's no expectation on them; everyone has them dead and buried.
Norwich will, of course, be expected to end their recent miserable run tomorrow – certainly by the Carrow Road faithful who desperately want this sorry season to be put to bed ASAP; to make sure that that magnificent unbeaten run through Christmas and the New Year does actually mean something. No-one wants to be going to Hillsborough on the final day of the season with something to play for.
“There's got to be greater pressure on Colchester because they're still alive and running,” he added, having witnessed the 3-1 home defeat by Hull City – complete, of course, with Phil Ifil's early exit. The fact that the full-back's red card has now been rescinded did, however, cause Roeder to raise an eyebrow fresh from red card – and in the Daily Mirror's case – red top troubles of his own.
“I saw them play the other night and they're fighting for their lives. Went down to ten men; 2-0 down – you might have thought they'd have given in, but they didn't. They fought hard.
“But I was very surprised that the red card got rescinded. Very surprised having seen the tackle, but I'm not bothered about that either. It's just an opinion – because it was a nasty, nasty tackle.”
Roeder's red-top woes have, of course, centred on the whole 'Party' Pattison saga after the 21-year-old midfielder's arrest last weekend for an alleged drink-driving offence. He will face the music in front of Norwich magistrates on March 31. In the meantime, the Canary manager repeated the fact that he was still very much in his thoughts for this weekend.
He wasn't, it appeared, about to disappear to the Sporting Chance Clinic in Hampshire for a spell of a rehab, as the paper claimed.
“Does he come into conention for tomorrow? Yes – 100 per cent, he does,” said Roeder, standing firmly by his man. And for anyone wishing to stand in line and have a pop at the 21-year-old, the Canary chief challenged the first person that was without sin to cast the first stone. Pattison has clearly already felt the manager's wrath, but he is not about to be thrown out into the cold. Or into a rehab clinic who's last visitor of any footballing note was Joey Barton. One's Premiership class – in every sense – the other is Matty Pattison. There is a sense or proportion required.
“I find it difficult to put into words – and he knows it, by the way – how upset I am with him,” said the Canary boss.
“What actually happened – whether it be a football or whether it be someone else in society – is totally unacceptable. But we have a choice to make.
“We either ostracise him – and push him away from our family – or we take him in our family. Because everyone's made mistakes in their lives,” said Roeder, displaying the kind of thought process and approach that, for such a long-time, made him Paul Gascoigne's first port of refuge on Tyneside.
“I'm one for keeping them in the family – making sure that they are very aware of the bad mistake that they made,” he said. “And it was a bad mistake – but it could have been worse in terms of an accident, a death. So thank God he never injured somebody else; killed somebody else.
“And I'm sure, as and when he goes to court – and I think it's the 31st of March – he will be dealt with. And he'll have to take the punishment like a man, like everybody else does and be very humble and apologetic about what he did.
“But as I've always said – including you – if you've never done anything wrong in your life that is wrong, throw the first stone at him. But I bet you won't throw a stone if you're an honest person.”
Otherwise, Roeder has a clean bill of health injury-wise and, of course, someone else to take peoples' minds off a difficult week at Colney – former Dutch Under-21 striker Maceo Rigters. 'Mace' to his mates. That nickname does appear official – unlike others of late.
“He's fine – other than he looks like he's short of match practice,” said Roeder, as the 24-year-old swiftly settles into his new surroundings following this week's loan switch from Blackburn Rovers. “He joined in well yesterday; got on with the players straight away; smashed a few goals in – which is what he's here for. So, yes, he'll be involved.”
Skipper Mark Fotheringham was the one, slight doubt injury-wise after picking up a whack to the top of his knee in the closing stages of the 2-0 defeat at Sheffield United last weekend.
“He's fine – he could have trained basically by Tuesday. But he came out yesterday and he was flying.”
Other than that, game on…