So, on reflection, how well placed are the Canaries to kick on after Glenn Roeder's encouraging start to life in Norfolk? Because make no mistake, kick on they must.
'Celebrating' Championship survival didn't feel quite right last weekend and while there was a huge sense of relief inside Carrow Road after sweeping QPR aside, it was still a season of underacheivement for a group of players that, for the first part of the season at least, were punching well below their weight.
But in my opinion, Roeder's record since November alone can give City fans grounds for optimism as we reach one of the most crucial summers for a long while.
He proudly reminded the press this week that if the season had started upon his arrival at Carrow Road, then his charges would be firmly amongst the play-off chasing pack.
The way Roeder has got City playing attractive football again, coupled with an upturn in results, means the former Newcastle chief should be commended for a job well done – so far.
But all that will mean nothing if, for whatever reason, he doesn't enjoy a successful foray into the transfer market over the next few months.
And that is where the key lies. For if the Canary chief cannot bring in the personnel he needs this pre-season, he will be fighting a losing battle from the off.
We've all heard the words 'surgery' and 'rebuilding' muttered by manager and supporters alike, but major surgery is exactly what's needed.
There are only a select few of last weekend's line-up that I can see as being mainstays in Roeder's starting eleven next season. David Marshall would be one, Mark Fotheringham would be another (if he can agree a new contract, obviously) and after that I'm struggling.
I'm yet to be convinced that the City boss sees Darel Russell as the real deal. Dropping him to the bench for two vital games towards the end of the season does not bode well.
Don't get me wrong, he, along with Matty Pattison, will be in and around the first eleven but I'm not sure that he sees him as a vital cog in the Canary wheel ? in the same way he does Fotheringham.
At the back, Jon Otsemobor has still got work to do to convince Roeder and Co that he can cut it consistently at this level and I would bet good money that the partnership of Gary Doherty and Jason Shackell won't start the season together.
But it is at the other end of the pitch where the Canary chief has the biggest battle on his hands. With Dion Dublin finally listening to his 39-year-old body and bowing out of the game after a 20-year spell and Ched Evans being returned to sender, Roeder will find himself with only Jamie Cureton as his recognised striker.
Listen, I'm a huge Cureton fan but the Barclay favourite has not enjoyed the best of campaigns. He has top scored with 14 goals but realistically, he could, and should, be well into double figures by now.
He is the middle of a barren spell at the moment and you could see how desperate he was to score against the Hoops. But that desperation probably worked against him as you could sense the pressure on his shoulders.
Hopefully he can come back refreshed after the break because I still think he has a big part to play – whether Roeder does is an altogether different matter.
By my calculations – with none of the Academy crop showing signs of entering the picture any time soon ? the City boss will need as many ten new players this summer, be it loans or permanent deals.
They will need to be ready to go straight in at the deep end as well because the Canaries need to hit the ground running come August; they cannot afford to be playing catch-up again.
It is a shame that a large part of the current first-team is being disbanded though. The bond between the current set of players seems to be strong and you only had to see the post-match huddle after the QPR demolition to witness that.
But onwards and upwards City must travel and whilst the pre-season will prove to be a big test of Roeder's hiring and firing credentials, he must also use next year to demonstrate that his skills go beyond being a firefighter.
He steadied the ship at West Ham, Newcastle and now in Norfolk. But the following seasons on Tyneside and in East London were not so fruitful and Hammers fans still blame him for the club's relegation to the second tier in 2003.
It will be intriguing to see if he can achieve something he has yet to master in his career as a manager ? promotion. There is a long way to go until that appears on the horizon, but I don't know, there is something about Glenn Roeder and Norwich City that just fits.
Time will tell whether he can do what Nigel Worthington did and lead the Canaries into the Promised Land. There is a hell of a lot of work that needs to be done ? starting now.
But at least there is a sense of optimism amongst City's marvellous army of supporters that just simply wasn't there at this same time last year?.
Over to you Glenn.
Leave a Reply