I’ll be honest … this is not going to be the easiest preview to write, not least because it’s one of those very rare occasions where I’m indifferent to the result.
I suspect (I may be wrong) that many of you feel the same.
When you’re Norwich City, a trip to Anfield isn’t a prize, it’s a punishment, and so forgive me if I’m not ‘buzzing’ over tonight’s replay at Bristol’s Memorial Stadium.
But there will be some lovely, adorable lunatics who will head to Bristol tonight clad in yellow and green, and it’s for those good folk that I hope the players produce a performance worthy of the shirt.
Quite what will unfold though, I have not a clue, but I hope desperately for those travelling Canaries that the performance level is a couple of steps up on the tie at Carrow Road where, let’s be honest, they stunk the place out.
But for a fine George Long save and a goalpost, The Gas would have won that game and deservedly so, but the team 21 places higher in the pyramid somehow managed to dig in and scrape out a draw and a replay.
Unfortunately, it was a draw (and replay) that David Wagner talked up.
When questioned in the pre-match presser about the unpalatable prospect of a midweek replay across the other side of the country, our head coach opted out of a bullish “we haven’t considered a replay, we want to win it in 90 minutes”, and instead went for the more traditional and cautious, ‘if it takes a replay, then so be it’ approach.
Alas, so too did his players.
On the day, it was the visitors who looked more likely to get the job in one go, and, instead, City produced one of those laboured, slovenly and disjointed performances that have been typical of late. But, as Wagner would point out, they didn’t lose.
So we go again.
Since the draw at Carrow Road, Rovers have played once, losing 2-1 away at Barnsley at the weekend, with Chris Martin scoring their goal.
(May just be me, but I can’t see Beccles’ finest going 180 minutes without scoring against us).
We, of course, blazed a trail in Hull and, somehow, conjured up a smash-and-grab of some distinction thanks to a brilliant Jonny Rowe goal and a late one from Christian Fassnacht, courtesy of a lovely cross from Onel Hernandez.
(Yes, you read that correctly).
For what it’s worth, this is how Rovers lined up on Saturday:
As far as City’s starting XI goes, I’m predicting that it will look something like this…
But who knows…
All I do know is that, sensibly, Josh Sargent hasn’t travelled to Bristol as he gradually regains full fitness after that ankle injury and that Grant Hanley is also still unavailable as he recovers from that minor back problem.
For Wagner, the prospect of meeting up again with his old pal, Jurgen Klopp, appears to have added a missing spring to his step, and he appears more motivated than before the first leg. Perhaps that too will filter through to his players.
Who knows. This lot are hellishly hard to predict,
So… that trip to Anfield awaits the winners; one that for most City fans will fill them full of dread, with visits to the red part of Merseyside being notoriously painful and miserable. And with this City team not being among the best we have produced in the 21st century, it’s not a prospect to be salivating over.
I guess it’s just a case of seeing what tonight brings and then worrying about Anfield if that becomes a thing. If we produce a performance like we did in the first game then it won’t be.
Either way, I’d imagine a trip to face Liverpool whets the appetite of Rovers’ fans more than it does ours.
Que sera, sera.