City skipper Grant Holt must be tired of the same, old question popping up after nigh-on every other Canary victory these days.
The one about a side that never gives in; never knows when it’s beaten; never hears the final whistle.
This weekend’s 2-1 win over Reading – a result that left Norwich third in the table this evening after Nottingham Forest’s battling point away at leaders QPR – was the eighth time this season that the Canaries have scored a goal in the 90th minute or later.
This one arrived four minutes into stoppage time – courtesy of Holt’s 14th goal of the season.
For the record, it was his 44th strike in 79 City league and cup appearances since his arrival from Shrewsbury in the summer of 2009.
That strike rate alone puts him right up there with the greats of City strikers past.
Crucially, it also left the Canaries six points clear of Leicester City now back in seventh spot. Whilst there will, no doubt, be many a twist and turn to come this spring, the Norfolk club are looking very good for at least a play-off finish.
“I said it last week, but it just shows how much we keep going, keep going and keep going,” said the 29-year-old, as the Canaries once more bounced straight back from that rare defeat away at Burnley last weekend.
“We want to win,” said Holt. “And I’m a big believer that if you’ve got the team spirit and the work ethic that he [Paul Lambert] instills into us then that’s what you get.”
It was – as ever – a close run thing as Royals keeper Adam Federici appeared to be having the last laugh in yet another high-octane clash against the Thames Valley side.
This time it was Turkish midfielder Jem Karacen seeing red for cleaning out David Fox midway through the second period.
The game was also marred by a coin throwing incident that saw assistant referee Adrian Sannerude hit by an object thrown from the Barclay End.
That is now in the hands of the police and – in every likelihood – the footballing authorities.
Holt was more concerned by the performance of Federici who, for 94 minutes, stood tall against all Norwich could throw at him – denying both Andrew Crofts and Holt himself in big, one-on-ones.
“If the keeper doesn’t get Man of the Match, I’ll be amazed,” said the Canary favourite. “And you are looking at it and thinking: ‘It’s going to be one of them days…’ “He’s pulled off one in the first-half; another one in the first-half; one off Chris [Martin]; one off me; off Crofty [Andrew Crofts].
“And then the one off me when it was a one-on-one, I thought it was a fantastic save –I thought it was past him.
“But you keep going – that’s what we do.”
Substitute Andrew Surman set the final chance in motion with a glorious little touch into Crofts in the inside left channel.
His ball skipped across the face of the Reading goal to where Holt was lurking by the far post with just enough time and angle to spare.
“Sometimes you pull out, but I just thought that I’m going to gamble and thankfully it paid off,” said Holt.
“And it was a good ball by Crofty. He put it into a good area where the goalie can’t come and it was a nice finish.”
Certainly any neutral will have had their money’s worth out of the two games against Reading. There was, clearly, a little hangover in the air from the last encounter – Karacen’s ‘robust’ challenge on Korey Smith in the corresponding fixture hadn’t been forgotten.
The Turk got his due desserts this weekend – albeit at the risk of Fox’s standing leg.
“The lads said that he [Karacan] went in with a bit of momentum, so it evens itself out,” said Holt, victim, of course, of a rescinded red card in that 3-3 draw at the Madejski.
“We had a very harsh one up there; they got a draw back – it evens itself out.
“And, yes, there was a little bit of needle from last time; we knew that. There was a tackle on Korey Smith towards the end which was a horrendous tackle that never got punished. So we turned the tables a little bit.
“But it’s not about them, it’s about us. We just worry about the team next; we never look ahead. And today it was Reading; last week it was Burnley. And we knew we had to win today.
“We knew that we had to keep believing that we don’t get beat two in a row and it’s continued today.”