City boss Glenn Roeder had just one regret on the back of Saturday's comfortable 2-0 win over Burnley – that the name 'M Pattison' did not find its way onto the score-sheet.
The 21-year-old Canary midfielder has been right through both the tabloid and legal mill of late following his arrest and conviction for a drink-driving offence.
From the start, the Norwich chief has made a point about standing by his man; how the Canary 'family' were not about to thrust the young man into the cold on the back of one, albeit large mistake.
And come this weekend's home clash with the Clarets there was evidence a-plenty that Roeder was starting to reap his reward as Pattison turned in an excellent all-round performance – particularly once he was hauled across to an unfamiliar right-side as the decision was made to unleash an on-song Darren Huckerby against Burnley's veteran right-back Graham Alexander.
For while his lack of a right-foot finish might have served him ill on occasion, he still had more than enough in his locker to give Jon Harley an uncomfortable afternoon. Indeed, his persistence tight on that far by-line should have seen Jamie Cureton stab a second home well before Ched Evans' finally secured all three points only for the Canary striker to sweep his own, right-foot effort well wide of the far upright.
“I thought he was fantastic today,” said Roeder afterwards, as Pattison continues to reap the benefit of the manager's one, out-and-out winger only policy. This time it was Lee Croft who never moved from the bench as Huckerby got the attacking nod.
“The only thing missing – which is what I'd like him to have done – was score a goal,” added the Canary chief. “He was absolutely terrific.”
It has been a rough ride for the South African-bred Geordie. He may yet emerge a better person for it, was Roeder's thinking.
“He's come through a lot in the last couple of weeks – and he'll learn from that bad experience. And he's shown that he's a strong character. Where lesser people would have buckled, he hasn't. He's actually stepped on and done really well for us. And he showed today what an intelligent footballer he is.”
It is one of the great, post-match debating points – the Huckerby question. More specifically, where to get the best out of him. Away on the left would probably be the general consensus though Roeder might point to the fact that it was from the right that the long-time Canary favourite teed Dion Dublin up for his second minute opener and put the Canaries on the road to another crucial three points.
They are still not safe yet. One more win from their last four games – enough to whack 55 points on the board – should see Norwich all but safe in a season that it is going to take an unprecedented high number of points to guarantee safety; an unusually low number of points to book a place in the play-offs.
The decision to switch Huckerby back across to his more favoured left was, said Roeder, in part prompted by video evidence of Alexander's lack of pace as the years start to catch up with the 36-year-old former Scottish international. The manager was right as Alexander was forced to see yellow as Huckerby skipped past him right in front of the dug-outs.
Roeder still had every respect for the long-time Preston North End skipper.
“He might not have played in the top division, but in my opinion, Alexander has always shown to be a model professional. It was nothing more than [the fact] that we'd looked at the videos of Burnley's games recently and we thought that we could expose his lack of pace and so I decided to change fairly early in the first-half and get Hucks [Huckerby] on the ball and running at him and it worked quite well.”
The Canaries now have just four games left – Ipswich Town (a) next weekend to be followed by the back-to-back home games against FA Cup semi-finalists West Bromwich Albion and football's new billionaires, QPR, a week later. The season ends away at relegation-haunted Sheffield Wednesday by when – the theory goes – City should have booked their ticket back in the Championship next season.
In fairness, on current performance levels that looks a reasonable bet. As ever, however, it is a case of getting the results to marry the performances. And as the away trip to promotion-hopefuls Bristol City proved, that's far from guaranteed.
“That often happens in football,” said Roeder. “People forget that you've played well – they just look at the results and see that you've beaten. So it was important that we got back to winning ways today. And to play well as well would be a bonus – so we got everything today.
“We played well, we scored two goals and we kept a clean sheet. It was a thoroughly deserved three points.”
All eyes now, of course, switch to Portman Road next Sunday morning where Norwich can follow Colchester's lead and throw a little neighbourly spanner into Town's creaking promotion works.
“It sets ourselves up nicely for next week and the trip down to Portman Road next Sunday which we are all looking forward to,” said Roeder.
“They were even talking about it after the game, the players. They cannot wait to get onto the coach and get down to Portman Road on Sunday for that 12 o'clock kick-off.”
With no fresh injury alarms, even now it would look as if Roeder will just have one big decision to make – whether to keep Cureton in ahead of Evans as the on-loan Manchester City youngster stated his case for a start with that 90th minute strike. Was it likely to cause him a pre-derby selection headache?
“No,” he said simply. “The only headache I have is when players are injured and there's no pressure on places; and when players know that if they don't play well they are going to play. You can never have too many players to choose from.
“In an ideal world I'd have 30 players, all fully fit, all fighting for 11 starting positions. That's what I'm paid to do – pick winning teams.”