Date:Friday September 28 2007
The Owls travel to Norwich City on Saturday looking to make it two league wins from two - we speak to Vital Norwich editor Michael on what we can expect from his Canaries.
1. Whats your start to the season been like?
We've yet to play well, apart from 20 minute spells here and there. They are a capable bunch of players, but after the defeat at Wolves there are some huge questions being asked of both them and the management. Saturday is an extremely important game for everyone at the club. Although we only lost 2-0 at Wolves, it was a complete mauling and should`ve been seven or eight. The performance against Man City in the Carling Cup on Tuesday was better, but it really comes down to winning on Saturday to stop the club's slide. That said, we were relegated along with Palace and Southampton, and neither of them are too far away.
2. And the comings and goings within your squad from last season?
They were much trumpeted, but with so many changes to the squad I think they're still finding their feet. They will get better, but it'll need to happen quickly. Although some fans are annoyed at the lose of Etuhu, Safri and Earnshaw, all three wanted to go and engineered their exits in some way. Peter Grant has now built his own side, and a lot of fans are ready to judge him pretty quickly. For me, he still has time.
3. What are your aims for the season?
We need to achieve a noticeable improvement on last year's 16th place. We should be competitive and challenging for a top six place, but we've completely ballsed it up since our relegation and look a long way off being serious contenders. If we scrap around in lower mid-table for another season, that simply won't be good enough.
4. Who are the players we'll need to look out for in your team?
On last Saturday's performance, absolutely no-one. Michael Spillane is a youngster and he played well in midfield on Tuesday night. Hopefully he'll be given his chance in the league on Saturday. He's got good quality on the ball and battles well. The rest of the squad are short of form and need to prove something to everyone.
5. And what about any weaknesses?
Defensively we had been tighter than last year, but most of our back four are injured/suspended for Saturday. Our midfield lacks creativity, and our strikers look short on confidence and have lacked any meaningful service. Other than that, we're a good side...
6. Whats been going on at Norwich these last few seasons?
You keep drawing in big crowds, but the team don't seem to match the fans' passion! The ground has been full, but not the most passionate of places. We seem to have struggled to recover form our 6-0 defeat at Fulham. Worthington stayed in the job too long, and by the time Grant was installed, the parachute money had disappeared. If there isn't much improvement this season, I would expect our attendances to start falling. But you can't argue with the volume of support we've had since relegation.
7. How do you think the Owls will do this season?
I thought you would struggle to match last season's late form after selling a few decent players and struggling to replace them. But I didn't expect it to be so bad. Realistically, you have to stop the rot and hope you get safe as quickly as possible. The sooner you do that, the sooner you can aim higher up the table. I expect you to finish lower mid-table.
8. What's your most memorable Owls v Norwich clash?
I remember one of my wins came at Carrow Road against Sheffield Wednesday. A Rob Newman header won it, but the game wasn`t great. I've been to Hillsborough before too and enjoyed it. The one which sticks out though is one I missed. I was walking around Norwich city centre on a Saturday afternoon and went to check the score. Norwich won 5-0. For a team as poor away from home as us, I wasn't expecting that. Heady days.
9. And how do you think Saturday will pan out?
Well, we simply need to win but our record in front on the Sky cameras is shocking and we have a lot of players injured and suspended. A defeat to you guys at home (again!) doesn't bear thinking about. I'll say 1-0 Norwich, close my eyes and keep my fingers crossed.
Cheers Michael, and good luck for the rest of the season, after Saturday afternoon of course!
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NEXT UP - WHO ARE YER?: WATFORD...
Date:Friday September 28 2007
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