With the clock reading 45 minutes on Saturday ? and City 2-1 ahead of Colchester in the crucial Easter weekend clash ? it could be argued that Canary defender Jason Shackell was facing a crossroads in his Norwich career.
After a misguided header which fell at the feet of U's striker Kevin Lisbie, City found themselves only one goal to the good instead of going into the half-time break two goals up and cruising.
Many would have buckled under the weight of the pressure and found themselves with a huge black mark against their name. But not Shackell.
City boss Glenn Roeder was full of praise for the Stevenage-born player after the 5-1 weekend triumph and a sterling second-half performance, in which he barely put a foot wrong, will have shown Roeder what the Canary Academy product is all about.
“I was fairly happy with my performance at the weekend,” admitted the man they call Shacks ? speaking before yesterday's Easter autograph signing session at Pilch's sports store in Norwich.
“Obviously I wanted to dig a hole for myself after making a mistake for the Colchester goal. But he (Roeder) had a little chat with me and pulled me to one side.
“He told me to calm down and that it was important how I reacted to it in the second half. I tried to keep it solid and I felt I did that. Everybody did well and we limited them to be fair.
“The boys in midfield did well and even our right-back was phenomenal going forward. We scored a few goals so we're happy.”
And was it a result that had been on the cards for a while? In all fairness, the Canaries had not been playing badly. But it was the goal tally which was starting to become a concern.
Luckily for City supporters, it all fell into place at the weekend?
“We felt that with the chances we were creating, we could put a few past someone and to be fair, they weren't all easy chances. Dion's was a fantastic goal and some of them were very well created. Everyone did really well and it was a good result.”
Whilst everyone in Norfolk has had an extra bank holiday to bask in the glory of that East Anglian derby drubbing, thoughts must now turn to this Saturday and a tricky-looking trip to the West Country.
This weekend's opponents Bristol City will be desperately hoping they can get back on track and record their first win in six matches. After looking so strong, the Ashton Gate club are suddenly in danger of slipping out of the automatic promotion race.
But Shackell, who will be hoping to retain his place in the heart of the defence, knows it will be tough encounter. You don't turn into a bad team overnight.
“Bristol City are a good side and they play some good football,” Shackell added. “They are a good attacking team and obviously they have had a great season, having come up and done so well.
“They've done a lot better than people thought they would. It's going to be a hard end to the season for them though. It's a big game on Saturday ? big for them and big for us. It will be about whoever wants it more to be honest.
“They've lost the last couple of games so they will be well up for it and they need the points as much as we do.
“We went on a good away run not so long ago and we've got to get back to where we were. We were trying to play as the home side and take the game to the opposition; it worked for a period of time.
“But we've gone off the boil a little bit away from Carrow Road and it would be nice to get back on track on Saturday.”
A win for the Canaries could more or less clinch their Championship survival but despite the weekend's U's success, Shackell is all too aware of how tight it is near the trapdoor to League One.
There are some powerful outfits scrapping for points. It could well be a club with the highest ever points total that slips through the net and into the third tier of English football.
“It's very tight down there. We are just going to try and win as many games as we can before the season ends. There are six games left and we want to get as many points and finish as high up the table as we can.
“We'll take each game as it comes and another two wins I think will put that (any relegation fears) to bed. But like I say, we want as many points as possible.
“It has certainly been an up and down season. It has not been a season we were expected to have or have been happy to have.
“But you see some of the clubs down there ? Coventry, Southampton and Leicester for example ? and there are some big sides down near the bottom.
“But no-one is safe yet, there are about seven or eight teams still fighting who could go down. We've got to get the job done as soon as possible and then take it on from there.”
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