Norwich v Birmingham - Crunch Time
I don`t know about you but I`m very pleased that "real" football has returned.
When I say "real" I mean league football and to be specific, Championship football. Although, having said that, after the debacle at Millwall a couple of weeks ago, I`m not sure what to expect as the Canaries entertain Birmingham City on Saturday.
Both clubs have had a rather average, sorry, I mean poor, start to the 2017/18 season but over the International break, Harry Redknapp has been busy. Over the summer, Birmingham have brought in 14 new players including Jota from Brentford on deadline day for a fee of £6m after Middlesbrough had been bizarrely knocked back just days earlier for similar money.
It seems that the old Redknapp magic was the difference and Harry has promised that the fans will see a different Birmingham City from now onwards as he changes personnel and systems.
I`m not exactly sure what that will mean for Norwich or indeed, how much Daniel Farke will have been able to change since Millwall.
On the team news front though, we have good news.
Timm Klose and Cameron Jerome have been passed as fit to play by the Norwich Head Coach and although he is yet to play this season, I`d be staggered if Klose isn`t involved from the start.
Nelson Oliveira has been away with Portugal and grabbed a goal too. He would seem most likely to lead the line but you just never know with Farke. He may feel that Nelson could do with a rest after all the travelling. Mind you, it seems that Nelson has been relaxing for a few days in the Algarve before coming back to Colney, if his Instagram is anything to go by.
All seven of the players that have been away on international duty have returned in good shape with no problems reported, Farke said on Friday at Colney when he spoke to Canaries.co.uk
In terms of Grant Hanley, the new boy got 30 odd minutes for Scotland in mid-week but only arrived at Colney on Thursday, which means he has only had one full training session on Friday to get used to ideas, tactics and his new team mates. Farke was coy on whether he would play, stating only that he is available and it could be too soon but it won`t be long before he is involved.
I don`t mind admitting that this game and the general state of the Norwich team on the pitch, in general, gives me great cause for concern. It was always going to be a tough start to the season and I knew that, but I wasn`t expecting to be beaten so heavily without reply at The Den or by a similar score the week before at Villa Park.
This is the first time that Daniel Farke has had an almost fully fit squad from which to pick a side out of since the season started. Arguably, he only has Alex Pritchard and possibly Louis Thompson as players still out that you could expect to see in the first XI but even so, he has plenty of options now.
To my mind, that now means that Farke needs to start producing results on the pitch. The next two games are crucial in terms of getting back on track. Both games against Birmingham and then Burton on Tuesday night are at home and realistically we need to win both. A draw on Saturday and a win against Burton would just about be acceptable but should both games be lost then there will be an absolute meltdown among the Canary faithful and rightly so.
As I said at the top of this though, I really don`t know what to expect but I`ll be there and I hope the lads will give us something to cheer about.