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Everton at Norwich City: Blogger Q&A

We chat with Norwich City - My Football Writer

Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Everton travel to play Norwich City tomorrow, and if that fixture sounds familiar it's because barely a couple of months ago the Blues made the very same trip for a Capital One Cup fixture. On that day, the game ended 1-1 but the Toffees went on to win on penalties.

We had the pleasure of chatting with Gary, editor at Norwich City - My Football Writer, who took some time to tell us about the Canaries and what's been happening with his side this season.

RBM - The big news of the week is Chairman Alan Bowkett stepping down. How does this affect the team in the short term? Was his resignation driven by the current slump?

NC - I think (and hope...) that the answer to both questions is 'no'. His remit, when he joined the club in 2009, was to stabilise us financially, given we were on the brink of oblivion. He's achieved that plus some (debt-free and in the PL) so there was always a chance of it being 'job done' and he'd walk away, and with business interests in Europe it seems he felt now was the time. He did a fine job.

I don't envisage it affecting us in the short term and we're told plans for the January window will be unaffected.

RBM - Alex Neil invigorated the Canaries in January of this year, eventually leading to a return to the Premier League. Is he the right man for the job and to keep you up?

NC - Alex Neil is *definitely* the right man for the job - no question. Anyone who thinks otherwise has, in my opinion, lost the plot. He's still learning of course - he's only 34 - and has admitted to having curbed his natural desire for all-out attack, having suffered a particularly bloody nose at (of all places) St James' Park, but he's proved himself to be a quick learner. We've obviously struggled at times and are fully ensconced in the relegation dogfight, but that's because we have possibly the 20th strongest squad in the league and are the 20th richest club in the league. Anything other than a fight at the wrong end would have been a massive over-achievement.

RBM - Who are the best players for Norwich City in the season so far? Where would you say the strengths of this team are?

NC - Wes Hoolahan has, as ever, been our best player, alongside his fellow ROI international, Robbie Brady. Beyond those two we've been victims of the inconsistency bug and few have covered themselves in too much glory on a regular basis. But, when we click, we look a decent side.

RBM - What are the weaknesses in the squad? Is Neil going to have any money to spend in the January transfer window, and have any players been identified?

NC - The most obvious and glaring weakness is in the centre of the back-four. Individual errors have been a regular trait of our defending and it seems whichever centre-back pairing Neil picks they still have an error or two in them. I dare not even count the number of daft mistakes and the number of points they have cost us. A quality centre-back is a must. We tried and failed to buy one in the summer' to try and fail again in January will likely cost us our PL place.

At a fans forum this week, Neil confirmed that work is already under way to bring at least two new faces in. Let's hope, for our sake, he can get a signing or two over the line this time round.

RBM - The League Cup game in October was a pretty close affair, ending 1-1. Are you expecting much of the same on Saturday when the Toffees visit Carrow Road?

NC - It was a tight one and, in truth, was one we felt got away. If we can defend as solidly as we did that night at Goodison then, yes, it could be another close one. If we don't, Romelu Lukaku, Arouna Kone and co will have an enjoyable afternoon. I'm hoping for the former and going for another 1-1.


Our thanks to Gary for speaking with us. Check out Norwich City - My Football Writer, one of the most comprehensive and informative Canaries information sources out on the internet.