Everton at Norwich City: Q&A with Paddy Davitt

Can Nikica Jelavic rediscover his scoring touch this weekend? - Clive Brunskill

We had spoken to Paddy Davitt earlier in the season, and were able to interview him again ahead of Everton's trip to Norwich City this weekend.

Royal Blue Mersey were able to have a couple of great conversations with Paddy Davitt, Chief Norwich City football writer for Eastern Daily Press, Pink 'Un. Here is the link for the first time we spoke in November, and then today he answered our questions again.

RBM - Norwich are in 14th place currently, but could have been much higher had they been in better form in recent times. They haven't won a game since the middle of December, what's going on?

PD - It's been a season of peaks and troughs but since Christmas they have struggled desperately in front of goal. Only one in their last six in league and cup games tells its own story and underlines why they launched club record bids for Celtic's Gary Hooper in the January transfer window. That said, they have drawn four of the last five in the league so defensively they are every bit as resolute as when they went on a club-record Premier League unbeaten run just prior to the festive period.


RBM - While this is only Chris Hughton's first season in charge here, he looked like he had the players working the way he wanted them to. Is he getting complacent now, especially with this winless streak?

PD - No. Even during that record unbeaten run Hughton remained very measured in his outlook. He has never wavered from his first day in the job that keeping City in the Premier League would be a massive ask. If there was any hint of complacency then four consecutive league defeats around the turn of the year and an embarrassing FA Cup exit to Luton ended that.


RBM - How did the Canaries do during the January transfer window? Who did they bring in, and who were the significant players leaving Carrow Road? Were the weaknesses addressed?

PD - As previously mentioned, they went in on four separate occasions with multi-million bids for Celtic's Gary Hooper to address their chronic problems in front of goal. Celtic didn't want to do business in January. They were also quoted 20 million euros for their top continental target, Sporting Lisbon's highly-rated Dutch striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel. The major piece of business saw Leeds 19-goal Championship striker Luciano Becchio arrive with Welsh international Steve Morison going the other way in a swap deal. City also made a loan move for Sporting Kansas City striker Kei Kamara. Of the two additions, Becchio looks the more likely to chip in with the goals that will secure their Premier League survival - which really is the only way to judge whether City did good business or not.


RBM - Norwich City are averaging an impressive gate of 26,664 for a stadium that has a capacity of 27,033. Tell our readers a little about the fanbase, and how passionate they are about their team.

PD - Norwich is not just a one city, but a one county professional football club across Norfolk. That, allied to their relative geographical remoteness, fosters a tremendous sense of loyalty and pride from people in this part of the world towards the Canaries. They were average 20,000 plus crowds in League One in 2009 so it is no surprise all bar one of their home games this season have been home sell outs. The club have had to cap season ticket numbers to try and manage the demand. There are also tentative outline plans to increase the capacity to 35,000 if they can establish themselves in the Premier League in the short to mid-term future.


RBM - Could we have a score prediction for Saturday's game? Are you expecting a rough-and-tumble game, or do you think we'll get to see some good football? Who will you be tipping to shine?

PD - The last three league games since Norwich returned to the elite in 2011 have ended in draws. Norwich have also drawn four of their last five since Christmas and it would be no surprise to see that run continue against the Toffees. City have had a complete two-week break from action, which included a four-day warm weather trip to Abu Dhabi. Everton had a gruelling FA Cup tie at Oldham and with a replay on the horizon next week, Norwich will hope David Moyes has to factor that into his planning for the game at Carrow Road. Robert Snodgrass has been City's stand out player this season. His goal threat on set pieces has waned in recent times, so this weekend would be an opportune moment to re-discover the magic touch. 1-1.

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