Norwich City: Why Reading Clash Is One of the Biggest in the Canaries History

Andy WardContributor IIApril 17, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 13:  Michael Turner of Norwich City celebrates scoring the first goal of the match with teammates during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Norwich City at Emirates Stadium on April 13, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

By the time kick-off arrives, the tension inside Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon against Reading is likely to be palpable, as it really starts to dawn on supporters that Norwich City are about to face, arguably, the most important five games in their recent history.

A run of just one win in sixteen games has seen the Canaries drop down the Premier League table like a stone, with an inability to convert draws into wins proving very costly.

A much improved performance against Arsenal in their last game should have gone some way to restoring confidence and belief amongst the Norwich squad, but unfortunately, points are all that matter at this stage of the season, and the history books will show that the Gunners were victorious.

In truth, it was a game that neither side really did enough to win, but Arsène Wenger's outfit, albeit with a large helping hand from the officials, showed admirable resilience in getting the job done without being at their best.

It was a lesson to Norwich that although good performances are welcome, three points really are the be-all and end-all now, and the Canaries must rediscover their own ability to get wins. And quick.

As stated in previous articles, it cannot be stressed enough just how much of a blow relegation would be for Norwich, and as such, the entire club, from fans right on through to the players, must ensure that they are united in getting the Canaries over the finishing line.

The example set by the Under 18's in their fantastic Youth cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest showed just what can be achieved if everyone is pulling in the right direction.

The young Canaries played with a fantastic spirit, especially after having been reduced to 10 men for much of the game courtesy of a red card shown to Cameron Norman, and displayed no end of skill despite a familiar reluctance to convert gilt-edged chances.

They were backed by a truly fantastic crowd at Carrow Road, with the near 10,000 in attendance treating the game just as seriously as any first team fixture.

It was the sort of night that showed the rest of the nation what a unique club Norwich City is, and reinforced just how far unity from top to bottom in a football club can take you.

Amongst the spectators were many of the Norwich City first team squad, and they should have been inspired by the occasion.

The gauntlet has been laid down and they must create their own history against the Royals on Saturday.  Getting three points is absolutely imperative.

A loss or even a draw simply won't do now, with the likes of Wigan Athletic and Sunderland more than capable of closing the gap at the bottom, which is why it is so important that Norwich maintain their distance from the bottom three.

It will be far from easy against Nigel Adkins' men, who should play with a certain freedom that comes from the knowledge that their season is all but over, and will be looking to drag their opponents down with them to The Championship.

However, Norwich City will have other ideas, and backed by another passionate full house at Carrow Road, will be desperate to taste victory.

The game represents a golden chance to set up Premier League football for another season, and if that is indeed achieved, who knows just how exciting the future could turn out to be.


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