Opposing View - Norwich City
Half-way through the season; how has it compared to your hopes & fears?
It has been a fantastic season to be in the Yellow Army. Any fan you spoke to at the beginning of August would of bit your hand off to be 9th in the league, a whole 11pts off relegation, and awaiting a home tie in the 5th round of the FA Cup.
I think Norwich have allayed any fears of not being able to compete in this league..yes we have ex-non league players but they have embarassed a few multi-million pound teams so far this term!
Are you anticipating any ins or outs between now and January 31?
No. Not ins anyway. I would be surprised to say the least. I heard tonight that Jordan Rhodes has gone down from 20/1 to 10/11 with the bookies to sign for Norwich before the deadline but i think that's pure speculation to be honest. We simply don't need any reinforcements.
It's possible we may see [Aaron] Wilbraham or [Simon] Lappin go or Chris Martin get a extension to his loan to Palace though.
Will you be able to hold onto Paul Lambert when a bigger job comes up?
Why would he want to go elsewhere right now? He is loving it at Norwich and wants to finish the project he started down in League 1. Many fans think its inevitable Lambert will go eventually, but I can see him being here next season and really taking City places.
I've heard talk of Grant Holt and John Ruddy for England - surely not?
Why not? Both players are a credit to the club and have proven they can not only compete, but excel, in the Premier League. I think it would be nothing short of an outrage if Ruddy is not included in the Euro 2012 squad.
Many fans went a bit mad when [David] Stockdale got into the England squad the week after conceding 13 goals in two games for Ipswich! I don't see three goalkeepers better than Ruddy at the minute, he should be England's number two in my opinion.
As for Holt I can understand why he would be a bit of a long shot but again, why not? Especially when you've seen the likes of Jay Bothroyd and Kevin Davies get games up-front for England, and they aren't exactly prolific. You can guarantee Holt will run himself into the ground if he was given the chance to represent his country and many of the prima donnas around the England squad could learn from his workrate. He knows where the net is too!
Call them up I say.
Who will be the key man for Norwich on Wednesday night?
It all depends what formation Lambert goes with. He likes to change it up most weeks and he won't play the same team that beat Sunderland earlier in the season that's for sure. If we play with wingers, watch out for Anthony Pilkington. He can cause real damage to a defence and has been a revelation since joining from Huddersfield. He's also been tipped for the Euro's with Republic of Ireland.
I suspect we may go for the diamond though, and in any case the whole reason we have done so well this campaign is the fact we don't rely on one or two players.
I am really looking forward to seeing Grant Holt get at what I think is an unsettled Sunderland back four.
Where will you finish this season?
As long as it's 17th or higher I don't care. I can't see Norwich bombing down the league like Blackpool did but at the same time it will be hard to sustain our current position. We have only lost once in 10 games going into the Sunderland game but I think we all understand we can't win all the games we play. It's important not to get beat though and as long as we keep picking up results we will be fine, far away from relegation, and who knows we could make an assault for a Europa League place? Didn't dream I would be saying that two-and-a-half years ago!
This is the sort of game we don't lose. We've only been beaten by Villa and West Brom outside the top five so far but we're in for a tough game. Sunderland are going well under Martin O'Neil now but I'm sure Lambert will want to get one over his old boss.
I'm going for 1-1 score draw. Could go either way but I'd be content with a point and it would see the points tally continue to tick over.
Cheers Sam, it's been great to see a side come up and play good football and profit from doing so - long may it continue.
Sam writes for Holtmania, a brilliant independent Norwich City site, so head over there for all your Norcwich City requirements!