As City boss Glenn Roeder unveiled his first starting line-up for the 2008-2009 season at a drizzle-soaked Ricoh Arena, so the 2,500 travelling Canary supporters had little real clue as to what to expect.
Such has been the turnover of players this summer, that it would be a brave City fan who predicted either who – or how – Norwich would play in their opening Championship clash.
The who became clear with the team-sheet. With Ryan Bertrand failing his late fitness test on his ankle injury and ex-skipper Adam Drury still deemed short of match fitness with his weakened hamstring, so Roeder opted to slam Jason Shackell into that vacant left-back berth.
Otherwise, the rest of the Norwich defence were making their full, competitive debuts for the Norfolk club as Elliott Omosuzi kept Jon Otsemobor out of the side at right-back while John Kennedy and Dejan Stefanovic duly provided a wholly new-look centre-half pairing.
In midfield Lee Croft had done enough in pre-season to earn himself a start on the right; Mark Fotheringham and Sammy Clingan – as expected – formed the central two; Wes Hoolahan added the creativity, if not always the width on the left.
Up front and Roeder opted to give Arturo Lupoli his second bite at the Championship cherry ahead of Omar 'OJ' Koroma who – for now – had to settle for a place on the bench.
Given that the 21-year-old on-loan Fiorentina striker admitted himself to be only some 60% fit, there was every chance that OJ would be given his Canary debut after the break.
Darel Russell – the two-goal hero against Colchester United in City's final warm-up game – had to settle for a place on the bench; as did Drury, Matty Pattison and new No2 keeper Stuart Nelson.
For the hosts, they too boasted a much-changed side – one that featured new-boys Freddy Eastwood and Clinton Morrison up-front. Of the two ex-Canaries on duty – Andy Marshall and Leon McKenzie – the former was out injured, while the latter could force his way no further forward than onto the bench.
Game on… time for the fun to start all over again…
Norwich City (4-4-2): Marshall; Omusuzi, Kennedy, Stefanovic, Shackell; Croft, Clingan, Fotheringham, Hoolahan; Cureton, Lupoli. Subs (not used): Nelson, Drury, Russell, Pattison, Koroma.
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