The Canaries will discover tomorrow afternoon whether their appeal against Grant Holt’s red card has been successful…
…or whether the Canary skipper will face a three-match ban, kicking off with this Saturday’s clash with Leeds United.
There is also the small matter of the derby clash with Ipswich Town to consider a week later as Norwich’s run-in with 25-year-old referee Michael Oliver continues to be the centre of conversation.
It was his decision to dismiss Holt in Saturday’s live clash with Reading on Saturday evening that all-but turned the contest on its head.
In charge and pretty much cruising at 3-1 up, Holt was handed a straight red for an allegedly late challenge of Royals defender Ian Harte. Replays of the incident would suggest that the Canary striker barely touched Harte.
Either way, it proved to be the decisive moment of the contest as the hosts made the very most of their one-man advantage in the second period – even if it took an equally controversial decision to award a spot-kick against Simon Lappin for a foul on Shane Long to hand Reading the leveller.
By which stage City boss Paul Lambert was also seeing red – dismissed from the touchline by the hapless Oliver as he exchanged words with the fourth official.
Lambert, too, could now find himself facing a ban – he may yet be forced to conduct affairs from the directors box for both the re-match with last season’s big rivals Leeds and his own derby debut against crisis-hit Town a week later.
“The sending off was ludicrous – a shocking, shocking decision,” Lambert told the BBC afterwards, an opinion he is unlikely to have changed in the 48-hours since.
“Shocking – just shocking,” he complained. “We could be here till 2018 and we still wouldn’t get a decision out of him.”
Whether Lambert risks a disrepute charge for such comments would be to merely rub further salt into the wound. The hope remains that common sense will prevail and that Holt’s red card will be rescinded.
While Simeon Jackson might offer an immediate and obvious foil for Chrissy Martin, it isn’t exactly the point. The Canaries would be looking to go into a run of three, big games with everyone at their disposal.
It is not as if Holt isn’t central to the manager’s thinking right now. Both as a character and a captain, the one-time Shrewsbury forward has been as instrumental as anyone playing-wise for digging the Canaries out of that League One abyss.
His loss would be a big and untimely blow as the Norfolk side look to regain their foothold in the play-off reckoning following those three, back-to-back draws of late.
The views of Reading manager Brian McDermott would not exactly ease Lambert’s mood.
The Royals boss suggested the Canaries could have been home and hosed by the interval.
“We were that bad we could have been four or five-nil down,” he admitted afterwards. Had that been the case, then it would have been quite some performance from referee and Reading alike to deny City all three points.
As it was, the two-goal margin proved just enough for Reading to cling to; it remains to Norwich’s credit that they avoided conceding a fourth late on – despite their one-man disadvantage.
It all made for great viewing – be it for the Sky viewers sat on the sofa at home or those in the ground.
Even if Canary fans were forced to watch the final half-hour from behind said sofa as they feared that the Fates would do their very worst to deny the Norfolk side a rightful share of the spoils.
Norwich’s record in front of the live cameras didn’t exactly bode well.
“I want them to be entertained – but I want to be winning 3-0 and be entertained,” said McDermott, as his Royals side finished the weekend just a place below Norwich in the Championship table.
“But after the 3-1 at half-time, I’m happy to take the point,” he added.