Saturday, 30 August 2014

Cherry Chimes talks to Paddy Davitt at the Pink 'Un

Match Preview
Norwich City v AFCB
Blogger Interview: The Pink 'Un

This story was first published on Friday, but because of maintenance on some of the football news websites I have re-posted it so that it can receive a wider audience.

Paddy Davitt writes for the Pink 'Un which is an excellent website and publication for those who follow Norwich City FC. Paddy has agreed to give you Cherries' followers an idea as to how the Canaries have been doing and what you can expect if you visit Carrow Road.

CC: What's behind the name Pink 'Un and how did the site and publication get started?

PU: The site is a dedicated football portal, focusing on Norwich City but also covering local non-league clubs, for the Norfolk-based publisher Archant. We also have two daily newspaper titles and a clutch of weeklies which all have their own digital footprint. The Pink 'Un has been in existence for well over a decade and is regarded as one of the best within the industry for its depth of coverage and interactivity.

CC: Neil Adams said a short while ago that the players will put smiles on fans' faces - do you share his optimism?

PU: The fans certainly do now after three wins on the spin in the Championship, capped by Saturday’s 1-0 East Anglian derby victory at Ipswich. Adams reiterated when he spoke to the media at Portman Road how much that result would have meant to the supporters who had to endure some fairly turgid football during the Premier League era.

CC: Have you had a chance to see much of Lewis Grabban yet and do you feel he is a gamble?

PU: I’ve watched every minute of Norwich’s pre-season and early Championship games in my role as the company’s chief Norwich City football writer. I also had the chance to sit down with Lewis whilst on tour in Italy for a feature interview and everything I have heard and now seen from the lad is very impressive. It’s still early days but four goals in the league indicate Norwich completed an excellent piece of business rather than a gamble. What I also got from speaking to the lad himself is his determination to make the most of what he feels is a great opportunity to kick on again in his career and test himself against the best in the Premier League.

CC: How do you feel the team performed as a whole against Wolves?

PU: Neil Adams’ insisted there had been positives but it was hard to spot them at Molineux. The game arguably turned on Martin Olsson’s red card on the hour mark because Wolves scored the match-winner four minutes later but I think there was a general feeling the intensity and the collective pressing from Wolves was a bit of shock to the system for a team who had been operating in the Premier League, where the build up is generally slower and its about possession football rather than pressure. That said, three wins on the bounce in the league tells you they have learned quickly.

CC: What do you think of the quality of Norwich the squad compared to last season?

PU: They have a better squad this season. The likes of Lewis Grabban and Gary O’Neil know what the Championship is all about. Kyle Lafferty has hit the ground running and they’ve added further experience in Carlos Cuellar and Cameron Jerome. Expect Norwich to still be very active in the remaining days of the window as well. This time around they look to have a squad that covers all the bases.

CC: How difficult was the Blackburn team to play against and did you feel well on top of them?

PU: Blackburn could have been 3-0 in the opening 15 minutes. They scored one, had a decent penalty shout and put a free header wide from eight yards. But after City weathered the storm they took control of territory and possession and they eventually wore down the visitors. It might have taken until the 87th minute to get their noses in front before they added a third deep in stoppage time but they were good value for the victory.

CC: Do you think fans will fill the ground this season or will you expect them to ebb away if you are not challenging for promotion?

PU: No chance. Norwich City’s support must be amongst the most loyal in the country, which for me probably stems from the fact this is a one-club county. The nearest other professional team is Ipswich, 45-odd miles away and that is never going to be a viable alternative! That tends to breed a deep attachment between these fans and their club. Even when they went down to League One for the first time 50 years they were still getting 22,000 plus. They’ve sold that number of season tickets again and Carrow Roadwill be packed in home areas for the entire duration of the campaign.

CC: What is the secret to getting a goal out of Andrew Surman as we could not achieve it for all of last season - and do you think he'll stay at Norwich?

PU: Good question. The lad has been offered a new Norwich City deal and the manager wants him to be part of it moving forward and is a big admirer. The flip side is the lad himself told me during pre-season that after playing such an integral role at Bournemouth on loan he would struggle to go back to being a bit-part player, like he had been under the previous management at Carrow Road. He felt at his age, and he just turned 28 in the last few days, he needs regular football. I think that could go either way over the remainder of the transfer window. As for goals, it is a mystery given his technical ability.

CC: Who do you think will be your best player this season?

PU: Lewis Grabban leads the early running. If he maintains that strike rate Norwich would expect to go close to promotion. Wes Hoolahan is another key man in that creative role just behind the striker. Any successful team will have a strong spine and with John Ruddy, Michael Turner and Russell Martin behind those two City look to have that.

CC: Where do you think Norwich will be in the league after the first 10 games this season?

PU: Top four. They’ve got some momentum going now and if they can keep players fit and free of suspension they will feel they can kick on from an encouraging start.

CC: Who do you think will be the top three teams in the Championship?

PU: In no particular order, Norwich, Cardiff, Wigan.

CC: This match will be billed as a Grabban v Wilson showdown but what other players could spoil AFCB's day?

PU: Said it earlier but if Wes Hoolahan gets on the ball in advanced areas then Bournemouth will have to defend very well. He is the one who sets the attacking tempo and switches the play so intelligently.

CC: Can we have a score prediction please?

PU: Norwich City 2, Bournemouth 1

CC: Some excellent replies from Paddy there and I hope the price does not put off too many AFCB supporters who have been thinking of their first visit to Carrow Road to cheer on the Cherries. I still say AFCB will shock a few teams along the way as they did last season and if they can raise their game after recent performances it just could be an exciting day for those who make the journey up to Norwich. To read more of Paddy's reports on the Canaries just visit the Pink 'Un website. 

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