WE may currently be utilising the same diamond midfield system which served our arch rivals so well and suffered a humiliating 7-1 defeat, but that is where the comparisons between ourselves and Norwich end in my view.
Paul Jewell sparked up a debate over the international break this week suggesting the Blues are looking to copy Paul Lambert’s masterplan which saw Norwich make a surprise return to the Premiership.
In one sense, yes. Knitting together a group of players who have an attitude which means they never know when they’re beaten will ultimately pay rich dividends.
But I see Jewell and Lambert’s footballing philosophies on building promotion-winning teams as polar opposites. In the yellow corner you have a manager who believes you carefully recruit a group of players from the lower leagues who are desperate to reach the Promised Land for the first time, the one that us fans know is most special. But in the blue corner we have a manager who believes there is no substitute for experience and the more of it you can pack into your team the better your chances.
Of the 14 Town players that ended up on the field against Brighton over the 90 minutes in our previous match, only Aaron Cresswell has not tasted Premiership football before, in complete contrast to Norwich’s squad before the opening day of the season.
Last year we were a side that were undone by late goals while Norwich were the ones that revelled in injury-time heartbreaking - it ultimately being a key ingredient for their promotion party. This term we are finally beginning to demonstrate some of that steel but I worry about the reliance on loan players, something those up the A140 didn’t have to have too many concerns about.
David Stockdale, Danny Collins, Keith Andrews and Reece Wabara could all potentially leave by January, putting us in a position where we could effectively be left counting the cost.
We’re finally back in league action on Saturday with a trip to Cardiff City, a very happy hunting ground in recent years and despite their good start, the Bluebirds do not have the quality of last season, so we should be looking to come back with something. Ex-Cardiffian Michael Chopra will surely need no motivation ahead of kick-off. But on Tuesday Portsmouth visit Portman Road and have become something of a bogey team of late. David Norris will be making his return but thank goodness they don’t have David Nugent in their ranks this year!