City boss Glenn Roeder this morning revealed that he had subjected his players to a four-hour inquest on events at Turf Moor last weekend – and out of that lengthy post-mortem so he hoped for a return to winning ways against Preston North End tomorrow.
It is, as much as any theory holds water in the Championship, an eminently winnable contest for a side that put then league leaders Wolves to the sword some two, long weeks ago.
The Lilywhites have, after all, lost seven of their last nine games and may yet arrive at Carrow Road still shell-shocked from that morale-sapping home defeat by Southampton last time out.
And with a second home clash against Swansea City to follow, the Canaries have every opportunity to give themselves a six-point platform before the next acid, away test looms with that Sky TV clash at the City Ground, Nottingham.
But – and it remains a big 'but' – Norwich's margin for error is all-but non-existent. The fact that home-again hero Darren Huckerby is expected to be sat somewhere in the midst of the Jarrold Stand merely adds another edge to tomorrow's contest.
“We spend as much time as I feel is necessary on previous games,” said Roeder at Colney this morning.
“For instance, we came in here on Monday at quarter-to-eleven – and we all left here at ten past two. In football meeting terms, I'd have said that was a marathon. And we just covered the first 45 minutes – plus the two goals that we conceded.”
The meeting, he said, ended on a highly positive note – one that he has seen continue through training this week. Not that counts for much if Preston disappear back up north tomorrow with something to show for their troubles.
“It was a very constructive meeting,” he said. “I felt I was only warming up after three hours, but I encouraged debate – to see how they see things.”
The penny, it appears, was swift to drop in the class-room.
“Football is a game of split-second decisions and they've got to start making more good decisions than poors ones – especially away from home.”
Roeder readily admits that minus any sort of away form, the pressure inevitably mounts on the Canaries to deliver at home. “If you're not going to win on the road – which we didn't do last week – you've got to make sure you win at home.
“So you put yourselves under a little bit more pressure than you need to when you come back home – if you can take points when you go away,” he added. The fact that he has a nigh-on fully fit squad to select from helps.
“I think we've just got one doubt,” said the City chief, quizzed as to this weekend's bumps and knocks.
“And that's Elliot Omosuzi. He'll go out and train this morning and we'll see how he is,” said Roeder, with the on-loan Fulham full-back reporting a slightly tight hamstring following his day out in Lancashire.
With fellow England Under-19 full-back Ryan Bertrand finding himself back on the bench as long-time City servant Adam Drury returned at left-back, both Premiership loan stars could find themselves playing second fiddle to full-time Norwich employees as Roeder warms to the idea of giving Jon Otsemobor a run out.
“When he (Omosuzi) came off on Saturday, his hamstring had tightened up and he's been having treatment all week,” said Roeder, who welcomed Antoine Sibierski back to training earlier this week. The big Frenchman looks firmly back in contention to take the second striker's berth back of stand-in frontman Darel Russell.
“He (Sibierski) didn't train Monday, but he's trained since Monday,” said Roeder. “So they're all fine. As I say, we'll see how Elliot is this morning, but we don't have to take a massive risk with him because Jon's fit again.”
What, however, Roeder wants to see from his players is courage – a word he used with a vengence on Saturday after witnessing a second away-day no-show of the week.
“I see courage every day on the training ground – that's where you don't want to see it,” he said. “The place to show courage is in front of crowds; when it counts; when there's points at stake.
“We've shown it at home, but last week disappointed me hugely. And there's no point skirting around the problems that appeared in the two games last week. And they have to take the constructive criticism that I've given them – and come firing back tomorrow.”
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