Date:Thursday August 20 2009
Wycombe Wanderers travel to Norwich City on Saturday for their fourth League One fixture of the season.
The Canaries are yet to win a league game and currently lie 22nd in the table, having taken just a single point from their first three games. Two of the teams they have failed to beat so far are Exeter and Brentford who won automatic promotion from League Two last season alongside Wycombe Wanderers.
It's not been a happy time for Canaries' fans. Having watched their team play in the Premier League only five years ago, their relegation to the third tier of English football last season was a shock only surpassed by their 7-1 defeat to Colchester United at Carrow Road on the opening day of this campaign.
Colchester were managed that day by former Wycombe boss Paul Lambert, who left Adams Park fifteen months ago claiming 'there was one one or two little things that didn't sit with me.' Quite what he meant by that was never made clear but Blues' fans soon forgot as new boss Peter Taylor did what Lambert twice failed to do and won promotion to League One.
Obviously impressed by Colchester's part in their heaviest ever home defeat, Norwich promptly sacked their manager Bryan Gunn and offered Lambert the job.
The ambitious Scot predictably dropped Colchester like a hot potato, and taking his back-room staff with him again, grasped at the opportunity to manage a "terrific club" with a "terrific stadium" and an airport nearby for ease of commuting.
So, the scene is set for Saturday's fixture against Wycombe, which is not only Lambert's first game in charge of Norwich, but is also the Canaries' first match at Carrow Road since their humiliating 7-1 defeat.
Canary to watch
Old foe Grant Holt joined Norwich City from Shrewsbury Town in the summer and has already bagged three goals for the Canaries. Wycombe fans will best remember him for his five-goal haul at Adams Park in the JP Trophy last October.
Norwich City's season so far
LG1: Colchester (H)......Lost 7-1
Ccp: Yeovil Town (A)....Won 4-0
LG1: Exeter City (A)....Drew 1-1
LG1: Brentford (A)........Lost 2-1
Norwich summer signings
Ben Alnwick (Tottenham Hotspur) Goalkeeper - On Loan
Jens Berthel Askou (Kasimpasa) Defender
Matt Gill (Exeter City) Midfielder
Grant Holt (Shrewsbury Town) Striker
Stephen Hughes (Motherwell) Midfielder
Goran Maric (Celta de Vigo) Striker
Paul McVeigh (Luton Town) Midfielder
Michael Nelson (Hartlepool United) Defender
Michael Theoklitos (Melbourne Victory) Goalkeeper
Owain Tudur Jones (Swansea City) Midfielder
Simon Whaley (Preston North End) Midfielder
Rhoys Wiggins (Crystal Palace) Defender
The Chairboys are currently 19th in the table with only one point to show from three tough opening league fixtures.
Narrow defeats to bookies' favourites Charlton Athletic and Leeds United were followed on Tuesday evening by a draw with Southend United at Adams Park.
Things don't get any easier on Saturday with opponents Norwich City still smarting from their last disastrous outing at Carrow Road and also boosted by the arrival of a new manager in Paul Lambert.
The Chairboys will still be without their midfield general Tommy Doherty who has yet to feature this season after damaging his ankle ligaments in the pre-season game against QPR. First choice right-back Lewis Hunt is also unlikely to make his first appearance of the season as he recovers from a broken bone in his foot.
Wycombe manager Peter Taylor rewarded the players who battled so well in the first-half against Leeds United last Saturday, by naming an unchanged starting-eleven against Southend on Tuesday evening.
Using similar logic, it would be reasonable to assume that following Tuesday's performance, some changes will definitely be made against Norwich City on Saturday.
Central defender Leon Johnson will no doubt be hoping for a starting place, as will non-contract midfielder Danny Spiller, and forwards Jon-Paul Pittman and Stuart Beavon.
Wycombe's season so far
LG1: Charlton (A)........Lost 3-2
Ccp: Peterborough (H).Lost 4-0
LG1: Leeds (H)............Lost 1-0
LG1: Southend (H).....Drew 1-1
1993/94: FA Cup 3rd Round: Wycombe 0 Norwich 2
Both Norwich goals were scored by Chris Sutton the footballer brother of John Sutton.
The Man In The Middle
Saturday's referee is Jon Moss a head teacher from West Yorkshire. He became a National List referee in 2005 and his most recent Wycombe game was the Chairboys' 1-0 win at Rochdale last season.
It would be sweet to take something from this game.
On paper it would appear to be a daunting task against a former Premier League side, on their own ground, in front of a massive crowd and with a new manager on board.
In reality, Norwich can't be all that good if they're playing in League One. They're almost certainly not as good as Charlton or Leeds, they haven't beaten any of the three teams they've faced so far, and with lots of new summer signings, they're still gelling as a team.
After their last performance at Carrow Road Norwich will be nervous and if Wycombe are positive from the start, I can see them upsetting the odds and taking something from this game.
Date:Thursday August 20 2009
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