Former City defender Spencer Prior has warned Southend to beware the wounded animal, as the Canaries look to get back on track at Carrow Road this evening.
Paul Lambert’s men suffered their first home defeat in League One since August when the Saints came marching in at the weekend.
But City still have a three-point cushion at the summit and there is no need to panic just yet. And when crisis club Southend arrive in Norfolk tonight, Prior believes City will be ready and raring.
“It’s obviously a very hard game for Southend and I don’t think they are helped by Norwich losing at the weekend,” said man who made 89 appearances for Norwich between 1993 and 1996.
“Blues could well be facing a bit of a backlash against a team who will now be even more fired up and who I think are certain to go on and win promotion this season.
“I’m really pleased to see them doing well again. Paul Lambert has done a fantastic job but I’ll be honest and say I was disappointed when they first gave him the job.
“I wanted to see Ian Crook given a go but all credit to the board because they’ve been proved to have made the right decision and from what I hear he’s a very honest manager.
“I think he’s a no nonsense type of guy as well and it’s the first time Norwich have had that since Martin O’Neill.”
But while City are in good shape, despite that reverse on Saturday, another one of Prior’s former teams are in a real hole.
Southend’s form on the pitch is a concern, with only one win in their last 10, but it’s off the pitch where the real problems lie, with a winding-up petition hanging over the Essex club.
They managed to get that adjourned for 28 days back on the 10th of this month but with reports emerging yesterday that the players are still to receive January’s wages, it’s fair to say the Shrimpers are in a state of disarray.
And Prior is clearly concerned for the future of his hometown club, especially after being part of four promotions during happier times by the coast.
“I don’t like the way things have been going and it’s not nice looking in on it from the outside,” added Prior, speaking to the Southend Echo.
“Everyone knows what happened with me and the club earlier on this season when I was owed money but that’s all been sorted now and I want to see them stay up.
“I really do feel for Steve Tilson, Paul Brush and Ron Martin and it’s disappointing to see it decaying like it is.
“When I came back in to the club we all worked so hard to get up from League Two into the Championship. But now it looks like they could be heading back from where we came from which is a real shame.”
As for Shrimpers boss Tilson, he, like Prior, is expecting a tough night for United in Norfolk. As far as the 43-year-old is concerned, City are as good as it gets in League One.
“They are a very good team and the best I think we have played this season, so this game is as tough as it gets for us.
“But it’s a good ground with a good pitch and I’m sure there will be more than 20,000 fans there, so it’s a match you look forward to being involved in and hopefully it can spur us on even more.”
Remember that if you cannot make it to Carrow Road for tonight’s crucial encounter, you can keep up to date with events via MFW. And if you’re feeling brave, join in – just add a #ncfc to your message on Twitter.
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