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[Archived] Norwich 1 -1 Rovers


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Norwich is the most easterly city in the British Isles, and Rovers make the long trip east this coming Saturday for what's undoubtedly a vital match at Carrow Road.

The importance of this game cannot be overstated.

Nigel Worthington's side are one of our main rivals in the battle to avoid the drop this season and this is a crucial six-pointer. From my own point of view, I believe the relegation battle will come down to five clubs at the end of the season - West Brom, Norwich, Palace, Southampton and ourselves.

Down on the south coast this Saturday, the Saints host West Brom - and that looks to be another relegation six-pointer.

At least against Liverpool, we saw improved displays from Barry Ferguson, Paul Dickov and the erratic Emerton. Hopefully that improvement will be continued this Saturday.

Ulsterman Nigel Worthington took over at Carrow Road four years ago when the club were languishing in 20th position in the First Division.

In 2002, he came close to achieving promotion, when Norwich lost on penalties to Birmingham in the play-off final watched by a tearful Delia at the Millenium Stadium.

Two years later, Norwich won the Division One Championsip, playing a fluent style of football - and ending their nine year exile from the Premiership.

Worthington had to endure playing for Howard Wilkinson twice in his career, at Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday.

To play under Wilkinson once might be considered unfortunate; to play for him twice is sheer carelessness....

Fortunately for Norwich fans though, Worthington favours playing more of an attractive blend of passing football compared with the horrendous tactics favoured by Sgt Wilko - who lest we forget was the guy mainly responsible for Sunderland finishing up with the worst Premiership record in history - a pathetic total of just 19 points.

Norwich City's former Chairman Robert Chase was despised by the team's supporters for the way he ran the club. The rotund Mr Chase was an arrogant bully who wanted to flog off all of the best playing assets at the club.

Chase told blatant lies to the supporters. He said that Ruel Fox and Chris Sutton weren't for sale, but all the time, he was negotiating for them to be sold.

Sell your best players and you end up relegated. And that's exactly what happened to Norwich in 1995. Just two season after they'd finished 3rd in the Premiership, Norwich were relegated to Division One. The managers office at Carrow Road became a revolving door, with three different bosses in under a year.

John Deehan, Martin O'Neill (who resigned after Mr Chase broke promises) and Gary Megson all occupied the Norwich hotseat in the space of 12 months.

In contrast to 'con man' Chase, most Norwich fans have warmed to the soft motherly charms of Delia Smith.

The Canaries were on the brink of bankruptcy when Delia became a Director in 1996, and the club is now in a vastly better position.

For more than 25 years, delightful Delia has been advising the public on the basics of good wholesome cooking.

Popular with most of the country, Delia still has one or two critics though. She's been referred to (slightly unkindly) as the "Volvo of the kitchen" - safe, dependable and dull; while Egon Ronay described her as the "missionary position" of cooking.

In the football transfer market, Delia has also displayed a safe rather than extravagant pair of hands. The £750,000 capture of Darren Huckerby is her biggest outlay so far. She's resisted the temptation to splash out on expensive ingredients, preferring a more prudent recipe.

This summer Worthington had to make do with cut-price deals for Simon Charlton, Mattias Jonson and Denmark's Thomas Helveg, together with netting young David Bentley on loan from Arsenal - a player that Rovers coach Eddie Niedzwiecki knows well from his time at Highbury.

Mark Bowen, our Assistant manager, was actually in the Norwich defence that lost 7-1 to Rovers in 1992.

Goals from Shearer (twice), Wegerle (twice), Sherwood, Cowans and Ripley made it an emphatic afternoon at Ewood that day. Norwich also lost 5-1 to Spurs that season - and yet still managed to finish one place above us in the table, qualifying for Europe.

It's a funny old game. Norwich were actually eight points clear at the top of the table in December 1992 and if their away form had been just a little bit better, they could actually have won the first ever Premiership.

For nine seasons, Mark Bowen played at Carrow Road, scoring (along with Jeremy Goss) in their 2-1 UEFA Cup win over Bayern Munich, the first time an English team had won a match in the Olympic Stadium. Norwich won the League Cup in 1985, but were prevented from playing in Europe the following season due to the Heysel tragedy.

Norwich have never reached an FA Cup final, but they have come close on two occasions - with Mark Bowen playing in both matches. At Villa Park in 1989, in a semi-final overshadowed by the Hillsborough disaster, Norwich lost 1-0 to Everton. Three years later, they lost in the semi-final to Sunderland.

Rovers have only managed one away victory against Norwich in the past 20 years - and that was under Brian Kidd, with Egil Ostenstad scoring twice.

We've played Norwich six times at Carrow Road in the last two decades - with two draws, three defeats and just the one win.

Here are the previous results:

(Division Two)

1985-86 Norwich 3 Blackburn 0.

Premiership:

1992-93 Norwich 0 Blackburn 0.

1993-94 Norwich 2 Blackburn 2

1994-95 Norwich 2 Blackburn 1

Division One:

1999-2000 Norwich 0 Blackburn 2

2000-1 Norwich 1 Blackburn 1

David Bentley, Darren Huckerby and Leon McKenzie provide the pace in the current Norwich side.

I watched highlights of their recent entertaining game with Everton, and it was clear that Norwich can be a dangerous side going forward. Fortunately for us, they are also prone to errors at the back.

Hopefully they'll be generous in defence on Saturday.

Back in the 1950's, the system of national post codes was first introduced in the city of Norwich, before later being adoped by the rest of the country. The main aim of both clubs this Saturday will be to stay on the Premiership map at all costs.

Crystal Palace's improved recent form is a bit of a concern to me. Most pundits felt that Palace were certainties to go down this year, but they could put up a better fight than expected.

The three promoted clubs - Norwich, West Brom and Palace are still the bookies favourites to go down - with Rovers rated currently as the 5th most likely side to be relegated. (Southampton are 2/1, with Rovers at 5/2.)

As most people know - since the Premiership started in 1992, no club that has been bottom of the table at Christmas has survived. It's also true that despite the huge gulf between Division One and the Premiership, on only one occasion since 1992 has the three promoted clubs all gone down the following year.

That was in 1997/98, when Bolton, Palace and Barnsley went straight back down. On every other season since the Premiership started, at least one of the three promoted clubs has survived.

Let there be no doubt that the match with Norwich is a massive game for us.

Norwich folk, with their funny accents, will be hoping for their first home win of the season against us.

The skyline in this attractive city is dominated by it's famous cathedral, as you can SEE HERE.

After the one at Salisbury, the cathedral spire at Norwich is the second tallest in the UK. Our travelling Rovers choir will hopefully be in full voice this Saturday. The two men in the pulpit - Hughes and Worthington, must surely be aware of the game's significance.

Previous sins committed by Rovers players on the pitch can be forgiven, as long as they all do their proper duty this weekend. Three points for Rovers would be like manna from heaven....

Prediction: Norwich 1 Blackburn 2.

(I'm being optimistic for a change - It doesn't come naturally to me!)

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Great preview, AESF, as always.

Let's hope we can stop their attacking trio, and in particular Huckerby and Bentley - and if we can be as creative against the Canaries as we were against Liverpool, we can really get a good result here.

And as AESF says, this match is massive !

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Felt much more confident about this game after yesterday - until SG194 reminded me that we don't have a great record at Carrow Road! Its always been one of our 'bogey grounds'.

I'm not going to make a prediction. I'll just cross my fingers, toes, eyes, legs, and anything else I can, and hope we get a win. (Obviously I will have to uncross them at about 7.30am on Saturday when I get behind the wheel for the long drive to East Anglia!)

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Im going for 2-1 Rovers. If we play with the determination and fight we did against Liverpool, then we're bound to come away with something. Bothroyd and Dickov for Rovers, Huckerby for them.

Edited by frosty
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Interesting preview AESF.

Norwich 1 - 1 Rovers

Can't see either team winning it.

I reckon the game will be a close one, with Norwich getting an early goal and Dickov equalising late on in the game.

Away at Norwich will be tough, I reckon it'll be a game where both sides will want to pass it but yet it will be a physical battle.

Team:

Friedel

Neill,Short,Nissa,Jay

Reid,Tugay,Barry,Emerton

Dickov,Bothroyd

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Feeling optimistic about this one, i think the squad will be more upbeat.

it was good to see us playing the ball around a bit more with fergie in the middle. hopefully if we play the ball around well we can frustrate norwich and get a good result

Rovers 2

Ferguson

Neil

Norwich 1

Freidel

neil Nissa Short McEveley

Emerton Fergie Tugay mgp

bothroyd dickov

Edited by emerton
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Has to be hughes' 2nd 3-pointer and rovers' first away win this season.

Norwich 1

Rovers 3

HT 1-1

Emerton likely to start on the left again. Wonder will he be as effective as against liverpool.

thumbs-up.gif

Edited by emglch
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When you look at the fixture list, games against Norwich are ones where we should be looking to pick up 3 points.

Having said that, Norwich are not a bad little team; proved by their displays against Newcastle, Everton and Man United. Like us they lack a proven goalscorer and I think it'll come down to whoever wins the midfield battle on the day.

Prediction: Norwich 0-1 Blackburn, Stead with a late winner.

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