Roeder has transformed City's fortunes
GLENN Roeder has transformed Norwich City from relegation cannon fodder into one of the in-form teams in the Championship.The Canaries were marooned at the foot of the table when previous boss Peter Grant departed at the end of October, having mustered just eight points from 13 games.
By Carl Marston
GLENN Roeder has transformed Norwich City from relegation cannon fodder into one of the in-form teams in the Championship.
The Canaries were marooned at the foot of the table when previous boss Peter Grant departed at the end of October, having mustered just eight points from 13 games. They were three points adrift of safety and six points behind Colchester.
Roeder has not taken long to turn the tide. His first game in charge was the topsy-turvy East Anglian derby at home to Ipswich, when the Canaries rallied from two-down to secure a 2-2 draw via goals from Martin Taylor and Jamie Cureton.
Back-to-back defeats followed, at home to leaders Watford (3-1) and at Plymouth (3-0), to leave City a distant six points from safety. But they have risen from the ashes in impressive style since then.
Four wins out of five, culminating in last weekend's 1-0 success over Sheffield United, has seen the Canaries leapfrog the U's, and so clamber out of the bottom three.
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For the moment, though, Roeder is refusing to get carried away. The quietly-spoken, philosophical approach is one that he shares with U's boss Geraint Williams.
“I've said from day one when I came in that a couple of wins wouldn't eradicate us from the big hole we find ourselves in,” insisted Roeder.
“We knew it was going to take an extra special effort to come off the bottom of the table and starting climbing it. We're doing it slowly but surely.
“We've won four out of five, and what that's done is taken us out of the bottom three. It hasn't taken us into mid-table.”
City's use of loan players has been instrumental in their revival. In fact, five of the 11 players who started against Sheffield United last weekend were loanees.
Jed Evans, who scored what proved to be the winner with a first-half volley, is on loan from Manchester City. The defence included centre-half Martin Taylor (on loan from Birmingham) and full-back Mo Camara (on loan from Derby), and the midfield boasted a couple of loanees in Jimmy Smith (from Chelsea) and Matthew Pattison (from Newcastle).
One of that quintet, the experienced Taylor, has since returned to Birmingham and so will not figure against the U's today. The Canaries had wanted to extend the stay of the 28-year-old former Blackburn defender, but other Championship clubs are interested in signing him, including fellow strugglers QPR.
However, the other loan players have all expressed an interest in remaining at Carrow Road for longer periods, and that might just be enough to preserve the Norfolk club's Championship status for another season.
While the U's have managed to collect just six points from a possible 30 in their last 10 games, Norwich have accumulated 12 from a possible 15 in half the number of games.
The one blip was a 2-1 defeat at Stoke City. Otherwise, it has been success all the way with home wins over Coventry (2-0), Plymouth (2-1) and Sheffield United (1-0), and an away victory at Blackpool (3-1).
Colchester old boy Jamie Cureton has not scored in four games, but he is still City's top scorer with six - he will have to up the tempo if he wants to get close to his 24 goals for the U's, which secured him the Golden Boot award last season.
Instead, his teenage strike-partner Evans has chipped in with a couple of goals in the last two matches. At the other end of the age scale, 38-year-old Dion Dublin is a useful player to summon off the substitutes' bench.
Target man Dublin, who sprung to prominence at Cambridge United during John Beck's successful era of the late 1980s/early 1990s, has contributed four goals this term.