And so we make a trip into the valleys for what can only be described as a promotion six-pointer against Swansea City, the club with the best redesigned official logo I have ever seen.
The designer that remains within me tells me it’s cucumber cool and I love it. Fear, not I appreciate ours equally but I wasn’t around to have consciously seen its predecessor, although I reckon some of our MFW readers might have been.
But, enough of badges already. This may well prove to be our sternest test of the season thus far and anybody who took in the *first leg* at Carrow Road will remember just what a good side Swansea are – and they don’t like conceding goals.
It took a gamble [sorry, tactical masterstroke] by Daniel Farke to introduce Bali Mumba and Josh Martin late on to unlock them as we nicked it 1-0.
This window they have added Conor Hourihane from Villa and Morgan Whittaker from Derby, plus the slightly strange acquisition of our alumni Korey Smith from Bristol City who will reunite with everybody’s favourite grasshopper, Kyle Naughton.
It looks like manager Steve Cooper wanted squad depth, big time. We already possess squad depth in spade loads so the Jacks’ acquisitions don’t cause me palpitations, although I’m sure we all remember what an in-form Hourihane can do to us.
I asked a trio of MFW stalwarts for their views on the upcoming encounter and first up is Alex Alexander who regular readers will know simply as Ed.
“Our upcoming game at the Liberty Stadium takes me back almost nine years to the day in 2012 when Brendan Rogers was Swans manager and a certain Paul Lambert was in charge at CR. How their respective careers have ‘progressed’ with Marcus Evans reiterating his support for Lambert at 1p5wich only a few weeks ago!
“We won 3-2, despite Grant Holt giving away a penalty late in the second half, so I ended the day £29 richer as a result of my small gamble. Swans had been on a good run at home, but two goals from Holty and a deflected Pilks shot were enough to give us victory. John Ruddy was in goal for us and Michel Vorm in goal for the Swans and both made some outstanding saves in the dying minutes.
“More recently in 2012, we won 4-1 after leading 3-1 at half time.
“A repeat of those scorelines would be very welcome to keep us on track for promotion.”
From Wivenhoe on the Costa del Colne, Bernie Owen pontificates:
“A top of the table clash of the titans and a game where we can do a clean sweep of our Welsh opposition, having already won three from three.
“I hope this doesn’t come back to bite me but Swansea are playing to or just above their perceived potential for this season, while City are stuttering along in third gear with more to come. NCFC should come out on top as long as they get their shots on target.
“Key players for me [if selected] are Cantwell and Aarons, the Liberty pitch will be better than Barnsley’s and Millwall’s and the flow of the game should be better. I’m pretty sure Swansea’s coaching staff will have seen Cantwell getting annoyed by his close attention in both the Boro and Millwall games so it’s his big chance to show he can handle it and defeat it.”
Alex Bain reckons:
“The transfer window closed with City signing a back-up keeper still recuperating from back surgery who may not be fit for a month. We also bought Academy player Regan Riley from Bolton and Dimitris Giannoulis from PAOK – do we have enough strength in depth for the final push?
“Yet in the same period Swansea have strengthened their squad with Conor Hourihane on loan from Villa, striker Morgan Whittaker from Derby, Paul Arriola from DC United and Kieron Freeman, a defender from Sheffield United, and *our* Korey Smith from Bristol City. These seem excellent additions to an already strong squad who are looking to go one better than the playoffs last year.
“City are favourites to take one of the two automatic promotion places, especially with Watford losing 2-1 to QPR on Monday and Bournemouth coming unstuck at home to Wednesday.“
Our MFW trio seem a little more optimistic that I am about tomorrow evening so I’ll keep my score guess firmly to myself but this is what the lads reckon:
Alex A: I’ll go for 3-1 with McLean, Pukki and either Idah or Martin to get the goals!!
Bernie: We are better defensively than Swansea, they won’t score. So Swansea 0, Norwich 1 with the goal from Pukki.
Alex B: City didn’t turn up at the New Den, scraped a draw and looked really out of sorts so coming into another away game in South Wales I will go with a 1-1 draw but hope for an away win!
Many thanks to Bernie and both Alex’s and let’s hope Swansea will be a better match to watch than the last two borefests!
Something tells me it will be.
While you’re here…
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