Canary star David Fox celebrates his 28th birthday tomorrow with a growing belief that the Canaries might just be made of the right Premiership stuff.
Saturday’s thrilling 4-2 success over Newcastle United ensured that the Norfolk side head into a busy festive period with 19 points already on the board.
Stoke City’s surprise win over an in-form Spurs might have knocked the Canaries back down to tenth, but they remain a good, three wins distant from the bottom three.
More importantly, the wind remains very much in their sails – particularly at home. A trip to Carrow Road will not be taken lightly by anyone as the business end of the season unfolds in the New Year.
“That was a massive win for us,” said Fox, handed an early birthday present by boss Paul Lambert in the shape of a starting recall for the anchor man of Norwich’s famed diamond.
The importance of churning out those big three points at home is certainly not lost on the one-time Manchester United youngster.
“We have to make the most of our home games and I think that we’ve done that today,” he said, as Messrs Holt and Morison laid Newcastle’s defensive frailties bare.
“It was a great win with plenty of goals – the lads are buzzing, really,” he added.
It is an old maxim, but a true one. That if you can just score goals at this level, then you have a chance. And if you score more goals than you concede over the course of those 90 minutes, you’re onto something…
“We always feel that we can score against anyone,” said Fox, with the Canaries yet to actually keep a clean sheet against anyone – a fact made slightly irrelevant by the number of goals they continue to score at the other end.
“We always go out to try and score goals and attack teams – and I think that’s what you’ve got to do at home.
“And teams that do score goals can, hopefully, stay in the Premier League. That’s the way that we’re trying to do it. We’ve got to try and shore things up at the back a bit, but we’ve got to try and score goals.
“That’s one way we think we can try and stay in the league.”
Thus far, it is a policy that is paying off. Certainly Lambert’s pre-match call to throw Holt in alongside Morison with Wes Hoolahan sat in that little, awkward hole behind paid off magnificently; United chief Alan Pardew forced to admit afterwards that the three posed “a real threat”.
Even Demba Ba’s sucker punch of a goal on the stroke of half-time failed to knock Norwich out of their stride as two, big headers in the space of five, second-half minutes turned the contest Norwich’s way.
“It was a little bit flat at half-time,” admitted Fox. “But we knew we’d played well in the first-half; we knew that we were the better team; we knew that we’d created a lot of opportunities – that we were on the front foot throughout.
“So we knew that if we just continued playing the way we were, we could win the game.”
Such confidence was helped by the form of both City strikers; while, individually, Ba’s menace and finish might just have shaded the day’s honours, as a pair the Morison-Holt combo had way too much strength and aggression for that rebuilt Newcastle back four.
Equally, for all Ba’s silky touch on the floor, he is probably no match for either Canary forward in the air.
“I thought they were brilliant today,” said Fox. “For this particular game, we just felt that this was the way to go. We knew that they had injuries at the back as well which probably helped us.”
It wasn’t, he said, a case of Lambert pointing out Newcastle’s weakness as their ‘Fab Five’ at the back were ripped apart by big injuries – in particular, Steven Taylor’s season-ending Achilles rupture in the 3-0 home defeat by Chelsea.
“We knew it ourselves,” said Fox. “We knew that they were light at the back and we felt that was a place where could try and exploit them.
“But they [Holt and Morison] were both brilliant; they’ve started to get a bit of an understanding going.
“They’ve not played together an awful lot, but when they do then they’re a handful for anyone. Their movement is good and the goals they score today were brilliant.”
Three more headers to add to the season’s collection. City’s success in that regard was simple, suggested Fox.
“It’s just the desire to go and head it. There’s some good quality coming into the box and we know that if we do put it in the right areas, then we have got lads who will go and attack it.”