Sky Blues 0 Norwich City 3
Not quite the final warm up we’d have liked, I’m afraid. A sweltering Tesco Stand sat and watched as this friendly was turned on its head through endless 2nd half substitutions and an inability to cope against Norwich’s subsequent fresh legs.
It was a nightmare start as Grant Holt took advantage of our defensive parallelogram to slam the ball past potty-mouth keeper Joe Murphy. Oddly, this didn’t appear to cause too much of a knock to our confidence, and it wasn’t long before we started to find our passing feet.
Young chaps Cyrus Christie and Gael Bigirimana developed a useful understanding on the right flank, with the right-back’s Glen Johnson impression proving a useful weapon, and Bigirimana displaying seldom-seen poise for a City youngster.
Sammy Clingan was a continued presence of calm in the middle, showing once again (if we didn’t know already) how integral he is to this system of Thorn’s. No other player can do the job the way he can.
Unfortunately, while the passing in the middle third and the flanks was well-worked, the front line of Jutkiewicz, Eastwood and McSheffrey was largely ineffective. Very disappointing and with few options on the bench to offer an improvement, this only served as further reminder of the lack of quality options available to us in attacking areas.
As the heat began to take its toll, the 2nd half saw Norwich introduce a whole host of classy players (Surman, Morrison and Jackson) to the game to exploit our rapidly tiring legs. Freddy Eastwood pulled up with a hamstring problem and was replaced by O’Donovan who had the ball in the net at one point, only to see if chalked off for offside.
Norwich eventually saw us off with relative ease it has to be said, and completed the job with a fine long-range drive from Elliott Bennett.
So all-in-all, a mixed bag. The heavy loss wasn’t great preparation for next week, and we should all hope we’re able to get a couple of loans in before the close of the window, because this squad is not really competitive enough as it stands.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. The style of play is worlds apart from this time last year, and we have a couple of young players who could very well step into the first team now and make a positive contribution.
In Thorny we trust.
P.S. Congratulations to all involved in making the Jimmy Hill statue a reality, and to Jimmy himself for being such a remarkable man.
Also a call to the club shop to stock some mini replicas to hit the Bruce Forsyth joke-tellers over the head with. Might knock the hilarity out of them.