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Jim Smith

Some thoughts on yesterday

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Some belated thoughts on yesterdays game.

Firstly my overwhelming thoughts when looking at the team we put out (and which for the time being appears to be our starting line-up) is that whilst it has a certain solid look about it, I remain unconvinced that it is strong anough to challenge for the top 2 in this league. Yes it has enough about it to see off the likes of Yoevil and Hartlepool but in overall terms that line up lacks pace and that little bit of quality we are likely to need to see off the big teams. With that in mind if Hoolahan is off (as now looks likely) it is essential that we have a replacement lined up who has some pace. Similarly if Russell is off then lets get on with it. If not then lets hold out an olive branch as I believe he could be a big player for us alongside Hughes at this level.

As to the match itself it was certainly not pretty, especially in the first half when the standard of the football was at time abysmal. In fairness to the players though it was very windy and in the first half we were playing against the wind. This clearly made it very difficult for the players to judge long balls and to keep the ball on the floor at times. Overall it was a comfortable, regulation sort of victory the likes of which we are simply not used to at Norwich. Given this, it has to be seen as a welcome development that we now appear to be capable of going away and picking up 3 points with a minimum of fuss. Thought we started well for the first 20 which helped us settle. There was then an iffy spell mid first half when the game deteriorated and we didn;t really have a grip on it before we re-assumed control after teh goal. Second half we stepped it up a bit and, with the help of the wind, had pretty good control of the game. Our keeper only had 1 save of note to make and generally i felt more comfortable that I have done at an away game for some time. Once again good to se Smith, daley and Adeyemi all making valuable contributions. None are the finished article yet but all will make valuable contributions this season.

Individual player comments:

Forster: Hard to really judge as he had very little to do. However what i di like is he had a real sense of calm about him. Did everything he had to do very authoritatively and with no panic and generally looked a very composed goalkeeper. He is a decent size as well. 6

Semi - noticeably less attacking that he sometimes is. Got the impression he had been told to sit and keep the shape at all costs. Did nothing wrong other than one rash charge out of position towards the end of the game when they got in behind us. 6

Nelson - fair play on the goal which he took very well. Also generally batted away anything that came near him with his no nonsense approach. My personal view is i would not be comfortable with him playing every week as I think he''s limited and the constant hoofing does not help us to build play but I guess for games like this he''s fine. Maybe he just needs to get his confidence back up and will then start to show more composure. 6

Askou - thought he was decent. So strong in the air and a bit more mobile than any of our other CBs. A few moments of lack of understanding with Nelson but i guess the first time they have played together. 6

Drury - as with the other defenders did nothing wrong really. him and Lappin on the left is pretty solid. Passing going forwward let him down a couple of times but thats not really his role.Hopefully Wiggins may bring us more in that department once he is fit. 6

Lappin - another decent game. Did not hit the heights of Wycombe but 3 or 4 crosses/set peices show why its well worth having him in the team. 7

Smith - I did not think he was as good as againts wycombe and had a couple of spells when he went quite but he kept at it right to the last minute and adds som eenergy to out team. 6

Hughes - quietish forst half, came into if second half and particularly after his goal. Suddenly started to pop up all oevr the place and make us tick and looked a good player. will get kicked off the ball occasionally but when allowed to influence games will be out main playmaker this season. 7

Mcveigh - fair play to the little man. He doesn''t have much pace these days but he knows his limitations and he''s still got it in terms of ability and footballing intelligence. Involved in most of our best moments and is fully justifying that 1 year contract award. 7

Holt - a day when not everything came off for him but he kept at it and was in their faces til the last.Had spats with at least 3 or 4 of their players and as a result and was good to see his commitment again. A real raging bull of a player. 7

Cureton - did nothing worng. Worked hard but I for one was at a loss why he was not replaced by Cody much earlier. I like Curo but at the moment he''s not really offering a huge threat and I think we need pace up there to compliment Holt''s hold up play/flick ons/through balls. 6


Daley - 6 - thought he did quite well. Willing runner and gave us the option over the top/in behind that Cureton can''t offer. Some good link up play with Smith/Holt.

Macdondald - no real time to do anything.

Adeyemi - 6 - limited time to influence. Looked very like carlton paller with his new shorty haircut. Did nothing wrong.

Lambert - had a good record in away games with Col U. Hopefully this is the start of a similar record with us. next few days will be very important in terms of who leaves/stays. Also interesting decision coming as to who starts at CB next match!

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Cheers Jim, interesting analysis.One thing that strikes me, and pleases me, is the fact that the game itself sounded like a right scrap where it was going to nigh on impossible to play a passing game with the conditions however we still came out on top. Suggests that Lambo has instilled some steel into the starting XI.Also interesting that he has adopted a ''horses for courses'' approach depending on the opposition, conditions etc. A game like that was never really going to suit jinky wingers, hence why Hoolahan and Whaley were dropped in favour of more steely competitors such as McVeigh and Lappin. That coupled with the emergence of some of the youngsters equates to a very promising start for our new man.

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We''ve got some steel with this team. My concern now is whether we actually have the quality plus I am still unconvinced we have an ideal CB combination.

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