Sunderland A Test For New Look Norwich
You may have seen or read Simon Grayson`s comments about Sunday`s match between Norwich and Sunderland at Carrow Road.
The bottom line being that Grayson says he`s not really sure what to expect from Daniel Farke`s Canaries and he adds that while he has nothing against foreign coaches maybe one or two vacancies should be filled by British coaches because "It`s our country." I kid you not, anyway you can read all of Ray Wilkins` sorry, I mean Simon Grayson`s comments here from the Chronicle Live
Sunderland may persist with a strike force of ex-Canaries in the form of Lewis Grabban and James Vaughan, a couple of lads who are sure to get a "warm" reception when they turn out for the Black Cats. You will need little or no reminding about Grabban`s refusal to start on the bench for Norwich at Rotherham in the League Cup or James Vaughan`s rather exuberant celebrations after scoring a 96th minute goal against City for Huddersfield in the Championship during our last promotion season. The time that Vaughan took to put his shirt back on and stop kicking the advertising hoardings as well as leaving the field following his subsequent red card was almost exactly the time that was added on and allowed Jamar Loza a 98th minute equaliser in March 2015.
Grayson suggests that he will concentrate on his own side because he doesn`t know what to expect, noting that City started with three at the back at Fulham and then went to a four at half time. If the truth be known Simon, we`re not sure what formation Daniel Farke will choose either.
Talking of our Head Coach, he gave a stirring speech at Friday`s press conference in which he pinned his colours firmly to the Canary mast in our "wonderful City".
If you haven`t seen or read this speech yet then I would implore you to give it seven minutes of your time. It seems that the way he has dealt with the whole Nelson Oliveira saga was very well received and speaks volumes for his man management skills. You can check the speech out via the EDP here
Sunderland had looked to be in a bit of a shambles just a week before last weekend`s opening draw with Derby, having been thumped 0-5 by Celtic in their final pre-season friendly. Darron Gibson suggested that all wasn`t well at the Stadium of Light later that weekend, when collared by a fan in a nightclub after a sherry or two.
By all accounts, the Black Cats were good value for the 1-1 with Derby and interestingly, Grayson played a 4-4-2 with Grabban and Vaughan - if he persists with that, it will be very interesting.
This match will be a good test for the new look Norwich City, just as the opener at Fulham was. I`m hoping that there will be a few more shooting opportunities taken, whether they result in goals or not because if you don`t shoot you won`t score.
Steven Naismith looks certain to return to the side after the end of his suspension, the clue being his appearance at the Colney presser. He will probably play in the centre, as he did mostly in pre-season. Who he plays with will be a big question because it will mean either Maddison or Vrancic making way. After Maddison`s man of the match performance against Swindon in that position, if Madders gets the hook, I won`t be happy but I half expect that to happen.
When asked about Maddison, Farke`s tone is still erring on the cautious side as he suggests in various interviews that the young players need to keep working hard.
The biggest question of all though will be "what about Nelson Oliveira?"
Farke has put the whole "angry celebration" thing to bed and said he`s back in the squad for this game. Will he start or will he be on the bench?
Cameron Jerome has put in two tough shifts in a week against Fulham and Swindon and in lieu of any other real options it could open up a starting berth for Nelson. Having said that, he could just as easily start on the bench until the game opens up a bit, later on. Just as Farke predicted and used him at Fulham. Let`s hope this really is the end of it and Nelson just knuckles down and gets on with the business of scoring goals.
Enjoy the game and don`t forget to give Lewis and James a clap :)