City's fringe players gave the watching Paul Lambert a few headaches of the right kind last night after the second string ran out comfortable 5-0 winners over Southend.
Making their return to the Totesport.com Combination � East Division, Ian Crook's side dominated throughout and the likes of Gary Doherty and Wes Hoolahan gave Lambert plenty to think about.
For some, it is a surprise that they�are both still in Norfolk after the pair were strongly linked with moves away.
But, for the time being, they're still here. And while Doherty got himself on scoresheet, it was Hoolahan who was the star of the show from a central position.
And Crook admitted that he's given Lambert plenty to think about…
“The older boys that have found themselves out of the first-team for whatever reason, I thought their attitude was absolutely first class – there was nothing but good things about them,” Crook told the official website afterwards.
“What can I say about Wes, he was excellent. If Wes comes into tonight with a bad attitude, then he doesn't perform like that.
“His attitude was spot on, he has done everything. I said to him beforehand, 'when a manager leaves you out, don't give him an excuse to make it easy the next time'.
“And to be fair they didn't do that tonight. They made it difficult for him.”
As for the match, it was men against boys at times and if it was a boxing bout, the referee would have stopped it at half-time.
The Canaries took the lead through Chris Martin and were 4-0 up at the break�after a deflected Cody McDonald shot, a Doherty tap in and Goran Maric.
Simon Whaley added a fifth through a well taken free-kick and Crook was certainly a happy man after the final whistle.
“Their goalkeeper pulled off a few good saves. We seemed to hit him with most things in the second half, but I was really pleased.
“I thought some of the football we played at times was good and that's a pleasing aspect of it as well. I think there are ways to win and I always like the game played a certain way, so for me to see that we broke quickly and passed the ball around quite nicely, I'm very happy.”
Elsewhere, City�captain Grant Holt has admitted that the enforced break is doing the Canaries the world of good, with the MK Dons next up at Stadium:MK on Monday night.
In League One, with the Johnstone's Paint Trophy and�the FA Cup first round, there is little chance for a bit of R&R.
But with the Sky cameras calling next week, it represents a chance to recharge those batteries…
“We've had a lot of games the last few weeks and training's been quite intense so it gives you the opportunity to get the legs back a little bit,” said Holt.
“We were a little bit tired at the weekend and it gives us a couple of days to relax then work on little bits and bobs and I think it will do us the world of good.
“It's a bit different for us going to MK Dons, they're at home, and they've got expectations. They will have to come out and play and as we've seen, if teams have to come out and try to get goals against us they can get hurt.
“We know how good we are on the counter-attack and I hope it will work to our advantage.”