Not so long ago, when the Canaries were not so much perched happily and singing sweetly but seemingly flat on their backs and as stiff as a board at the bottom of the Championship table, no doubt more than one or two City supporters would have peered ahead at the fixture list and figured that the worst case scenario could easily unfold in front of their very eyes in a few months time…
Culminating with confirmed relegation for Norwich?against Ipswich? at Portman Road? with three games of the season still remaining.
A scene of devastation and utter dejection down in that small section near the corner flag at Portman Road for the few thousand away supporters, and their misery compounded by hordes of delirious home fans all around them.
The ultimate nightmare.
After the debacle down at Plymouth, say, you wouldn't have had to possess too vivid an imagination to have pictured it all quite clearly.
In fact, the way things were back then – with City producing the type of football that would shame even the “hangover brigade,” who despite ingesting a gallon or more of lager on a Saturday night still somehow manage to drag themselves out of bed on a Sunday morning for an 11-a-side down at the local park – you'd have actually bet good money on it happening.
Yet we now have the situation whereby the Canaries will virtually be assured of their Championship safety tomorrow if they can achieve a result against the old enemy.
And what's more, there's even the added bonus of a Canaries victory guaranteeing that an almighty spanner would suitably be deposited into the workings of the Ipswich play-off project in the process. The prospect of a double-whammy that promises to send the Yellow and Green Army south of the border tomorrow in fervent anticipation.
Given that in each of their last three matches the Canaries have delivered notably impressive performances, you'd assume that Glenn Roeder and his players will be relishing the contest tomorrow with similar expectations, as if nothing else the displays against Colchester, Bristol City and Burnley have emphasised only too clearly that in that sort of mood City are a match for any side in the division, either at home or away.
Norwich have not only performed with confidence in recent weeks, but also with a style to their game that in my opinion would pay higher dividends for them over the course of an arduous Championship season if adhered to more religiously.
The passing approach isn't favoured by too many team in this division granted, and many's the time this season when we have witnessed David Marshall clutching the ball in his hands and looking up to see who he can throw it out to, only to discover all his team-mates quickly disappearing upfield.
It's been the same for defenders when they have had the ball at times. They can only pass it into midfield if there are willing and available recipients.
But if you possess the type of players in your squad that are capable of out-playing as much as out-battling your opponents ? and City unquestionably do ? and you have the confidence and bravery to stick to your principles, evidence of what it can lead to and ultimately yield has been borne out only too clearly in the Canaries last three matches.
The victory against Burnley last Saturday has eased the pressure on Norwich to some degree, as they certainly wouldn't have wanted to prepare for the local derby stuck on 49 points and arguably still requiring a another four in order to avoid relegation.
There is still a job to be done, but City are almost home and dry. Instead it's the home side that will be feeling the heat right now.
Ipswich suffered a shock 2-0 defeat at Colchester last week which, on the back of their 0-0 home draw with QPR a week earlier cost them valuable points in their push for the play-offs, and despite enjoying more possession and creating more chances than visitors Cardiff at Portman Road on Wednesday night they could only mange a 1-1 draw.
That put the Tractor Boys in 7th place in the table on 61 points, and, you would expect, with no more margin for error now in their final four matches if they are to ultimately make it to the play-offs.
What it means of course is that victory is an absolute must for Ipswich tomorrow, whereas City have the opportunity to enjoy the ultimate party!
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