The Canary bandwagon keeps on rolling after a 1-0 win at Gillingham last night put Norwich into the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy southern area quarter-finals.
City boss Paul Lambert made several changes – most of them enforced – after the 5-1 demolition of Bristol Rovers but a 66th minute Cody McDonald strike was enough to see off their hosts.
And with the Norfolk club only four games from Wembley, Canary supporters will now have realistic ambitions of a trip to the famous stadium, with the draw for the next round being made on Saturday’s Soccer AM show.
It would certainly be a consolation for last season’s disastrous campaign and with City now on the fringes of the top six in League One as well, it has certainly been a good couple of weeks for Lambert’s men.
Last night’s trip to Priestfield saw full debuts for Academy youngsters George Francomb, Josh Dawkin and David Stephens and no one disappointed on their big night.
Summer signing Rhoys Wiggins also made his first team bow after injury and Lambert was certainly a happy man last night.
“It was absolutely terrific, the young boys came in and did terrific for us,” he told the club’s official website afterwards.
“I’d love to know what the average age was out there but I think Doc [Gary Doherty] takes it up. But I’m delighted for all the young boys they deserved it.
“Collectively as a group they’ve done well. It was a great win for us,” the Scot continued, clearly delighted at the direction the good ship Canary is sailing at the moment.
It was, yet again, a thoroughly deserved victory but they had to be patient, much like the previous Tuesday against Leyton Orient.
City came close several times in the first half and Chris Martin in particular could have added to his recent goalscoring exploits.
He had two opportunities at the end of the first 45, firstly with a rebound after Jamie Cureton’s shot was saved.
And then the Beccles-born striker – so impressive in Saturday’s drubbing of Rovers – had an even better chance in stoppage time when his header from a Paul McVeigh cross sailed just over the bar.
But it was left to ex-Dartford man McDonald to make his mark on the forward’s return to Kent.
“We should have had one or two in the first half – we could have been two up,” said Lambert, showing every sign of treating the JPT with respect.
“I’m a great believer that if you are in a competition then you are in it to win it and we did what we had to tonight.”
And McDonald himself was as pleased as punch after putting City through to the next round, as competition for places – especially in attack – hots up.
“It’s always nice to come on and score the winner, but the main thing tonight was that we got a good result.
“There’s been a bit of pressure on me lately with the other boys doing so well and I hope I have given the manager a bit of a headache by coming on and scoring.
“It’s always good to put pressure on other people and I hope when I get the chance again I can maybe do it again.
“I’ve just done what the other boys have done when they’ve got the chance – I’ve come on and scored. I need to do it personally for a bit of confidence and I hope I can push on from there.”
City: Forster, Francomb, Wiggins, Doherty (Stephens 70), Askou, Adeyemi, McVeigh (Dawkin 78), Hughes, Martin (McDonald 60), Cureton, Daley. Sub not used: Kelly.