As City boss Glenn Roeder today hit the phones again in his on-going quest to bolt a big target man onto the front of his best-laid plas, so he offered the frustrated Canary faithful four reasons to be cheerful – Elliott Omosuzi, John Kennedy, Dejan Stefanovic and Ryan Bertrand.
For all Norwich's current and painfully obvious failings in the final third of the pitch, Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Blackpool did at least confirm the impression that the Norfolk side have a far more resolute look to them in their own penalty area.
And ater welcoming Ryan Bertrand back into his starting plans after the on-loan Chelsea starlet's recent injury knock, Roeder remains convinced that his full-back pairing can prove to be the best in the Championship.
Given that he now has both Jon Otsemobor and Adam Drury waiting to pounce if either of the two, on-loan England Youth internationals should stumble, that department of the team looks more than sorted.
“It's the third game in a week – and you've seen the games – that David Marshall has not had a save to make,” said Roeder, with the City No1 once again only beaten from the penalty spot after Omosuzi went to ground in his own box and, having duly invited the tumble from Adam Hammill, watched as referee Friend duly pointed to the spot.
Ben Burgess made no mistake – nor, of course, did Coventry's Elliott Ward at the Ricoh.
“We've not had to draw on his [Marshall's] excellence, if you want,” added Roeder. “And yet he's had two penalties to face; a counter-attack at Milton Keynes which he had little chance with – excellent finish; gave him no chance – and the one back off the crossbar last week. So he's had nothing to do.”
Not that the City back four were wholly without fault on Saturday. As welcome as it was to see Kennedy striding out of defence with the ball glued to his feet, he did then get robbed of the ball when out of position – leaving Omozusi ill-placed to cover Hammill's dart into the City penalty area.
Nevertheless, Roeder still has every faith in his new-look back-line. They will, of course, face rather sterner tests than that provided by the Seasiders who offered Burgess as a lone target man. Birmingham City – next up at Carrow Road – could be a different beast altogether.
“I think they're an excellent back four in the Champiomnship,” said the City boss, speaking straight ater Saturday's opening home draw.
“And I think those two full-backs will prove me right – that there won't be two better full-backs in the Championship than those two young lads. They're still both teenagers; both Premiership players.”
Both, however, are still leaning their trade – as Omosusi proved with his challenge on Hammill. Stand on your feet and show him away was one instruction that went AWOL.
“There was never a tackle on,” said Roeder, as one false move cost him dear.
“We spoke about that player extensively on Friday when we had the video evidence from Blackpool; we really zoned in on Hammill.”
And discovered that he was a one-sidedpony.
“He plays on the left, comes back on his right, back on his right… his left foot is only for standing on. The one time in the game that he took him down the outside it's in the penalty box – and I don't believe he'd have even swung his left-foot.
“I think he would have checked back on his right. He certainly wasn't quick enough to run away from Elliott – so he wouldn't have run away from him in the penalty box. He's just got to stay on his feet; be a good a defender. And 99% of the time, Elliott is.
“And if he does swing his left-foot, block the cross. Or if he checks back, then you're waiting to take it off him. Golden rule: you don't go to ground in the penalty box. And, unfortunately, he did.
“But I'm not blaming him at all. He's a fantastic young talent and we're lucky to have him for the season from Fulham,” said Roeder, who used the club's pre-season dinner to publicly highlight the role that Delia Smith's long-standing friendship with Fulham boss Roy Hodgson had in persuading him to let Omosuzi come out to play in Norfolk.
“There was three, four, five Championship clubs desperate to take him – just the same as there was with Ryan [Bertrand]. And fortunately both lads chose to come here.”
The one, notable absentee this weekend was ex-Canary skipper Drury who made a steady return to first team duty at the stadium:mk on Tuesday night after nine, long months on the sidelines with that serious knee injury.
Roeder was swift to insist that all was well; ever wary of the 'bounce effect' of a player pushing on too much too soon, he had decide to rest Drury this weekend – conscious, in particular, of not over-extending the donor hamstring used by the surgeons to repair his damaged knee.
“There's nothing wrong with Adam Drury at all – other than he still needs to recover from that first game he had on Tuesday night; the first game he's had for seven, eight, nine months,” said Roeder, as he headed back to the phones this morning.
“On Friday evening we hadn't had a breakthrough and obviously all my attentions turned to the game, but we'll pick it up again tomorrow [Sunday],” said Roeder, speaking on Saturday night.
He was, clearly, still intent on hauling his man in.
“We don't take 'No!' easily here. We'll get our man…”