Date: 16th September 2008 at 7:57am
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It’s been barely months since Norwich clambered their way to Championship safety, but Vital QPR speaks to a Canaries fan who harbours play-off hopes.

Norwich fan and Vital Norwich
editor Michael Dilley aka ‘The Guru` gives his views on his beloved Canaries, indicating that Roeder`s additions could do more than fire them to mid-table obscurity.

After years of good work by Nigel Worthington, his reign came to an end and ex-Rangers player Glenn Roeder took to the manager`s seat, sandwiching Peter Grant Were you in support of the Worthington departure, and subsequent Roeder appointment?

Worthington will always be fondly remembered for what he achieved with us, but in truth I think he probably stayed at least a year too long as we were going nowhere fast.

When he was replaced with Peter Grant I was fairly optimistic but it became apparent that although he was a very good coach, he wasn`t exactly the best manager in the history of the game.

His last game in charge was against QPR at Loftus Road last season, and the image of him sitting in the dug out looking completely lost as his team put in one of the most woeful performances ever seen by a Norwich City side will live with me for a long, long time.

A lot of supporters (myself included) were a little under whelmed when Glenn Roeder was announced as Grant`s replacement as we were hoping Paul Jewell would ride in and save us, but he did a tremendous job keeping us in the Championship last season, and I think he`s definitely long won most of us round.

Glenn Roeder’s second season syndrome is infamous in footballing circles, not being able to match initial expectations he sets at any given club. Were you aware of this coming into the season and were you geared up for a struggle?

It`s definitely something we`re all aware of, but after last season I think it is fair to say we were/are ready for anything this term!

Much has been made of the current financial climate of the club, with Delia Smith looking to sell and having recently to pump a lot of her own money to keep the club financially stable – What do you make of the financial situation?

I don`t think we`re in a much worse situation than probably the majority of clubs in the Championship to be honest – there aren`t many of us who can boast F1 bosses and oil magnates as owners!

Billionaire businessman Peter Cullum was reportedly interested in buying the club over the summer, but that didn`t seem to get very far and we`ve since just been ‘treated` to varying degrees of spin both sides.

I read the report about Delia putting another £2 million into the club a few times and I think it`s a brilliant bit of PR on behalf of the club. Everybody picked up on the extra £2 million going in part, but not the bit which preceded it which said that it was always the plan.

To me it was a statement that they (Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones) weren`t prepared to just walk away from the estimated £11 million they have put into the club over the last decade, which Cullum`s offer implied they must do – but what do I know?

The commonly held belief seems to be that something is afoot there somewhere, but we`re being kept in the dark which, frankly, I would rather be the case until there was something substantial to say.

The Canaries bolstered their squad well in the summer including the signing of former Arsenal and Derby forward Arturo Lupoli – Were your expectations heightened following some good additions, and which of the additions have most impressed you?

I think sixteen players left the club over the summer with twelve coming in, so I wouldn`t say my expectations were heightened after the signings we made, as it was very clear from last season that we had to significantly improve the quality of our squad.

Of the new signings I’d say Sammy Clingan has probably impressed me the most. He looks very solid in midfield and a very decent player.

The new central defensive pairing of Stefanovic and Kennedy look very solid as well. For the last couple of seasons I’ve been terrified every time the opposition have the ball as you never knew when/where Gary Doherty (the Ginger Pele) was going to bring somebody down, and I now have a sense of relative calm – which is nice!

Conversely you lost Jason Shackell to Wolves – How big could that loss prove to be for Norwich, and do you think it was a fundraising measure?

When Shacks left he said he felt it was time to move on, and I think he was right. Last season`s defensive partnership of Shackell and Doherty didn`t exactly inspire confidence, and Roeder going out and buying Dejan Stefanovic from Fulham and signing John Kennedy and Troy Archibald-Henville on loan was hardly a ringing endorsement either of them so I don`t think many people were too surprised – or disappointed – that he moved on.

As for whether it was a fundraising measure? That`s a good question. I’d like to think not and that it was just coincidental timing, but I don`t think we`ll ever know.

To be honest I`m ore concerned with what will happen in the second half of the season, when in theory half of the current defence will be back with their own clubs.

Where do you think you will finish come the end of the season, and are these expectations consistent with that of other Norwich fans?
Norwich fans always expect to at least be challenging for a play-off place, and ideally that`s where I`d like to see us this season.

Following last season`s?disappointment?I think that may be a little optimistic, so to be frank I think we`ll probably finish around mid-table this year – but ask me again at Christmas!

Results suggest that Rangers perform better at Loftus Road than at Carrow Road; where you could count on one hand the amount of times the R’s have come away with a win – Do you expect this encounter to be true to form?

I certainly hope so! Before Saturday`s win at Plymouth the general opinion has been that we have been playing some great stuff without getting our reward, but with the arrival of Antoine Sibierski the hope is that he really will be the missing piece of the puzzle and we can push on to bigger and better things.

Which of your players do you feel can cause QPR the most damage?

Sibierski and Lupoli linked up together well at Plymouth so assuming they both start they could be two to keep an eye on.

Darel Russell has been in excellent form so far this season in midfield, and Wes Hoolahan usually has the odd trick up his sleeve.

Conversely which QPR player do you fear most going into the encounter?

Dexter Blackstock looked lively against Southampton so I`m sure he`ll be one to keep an eye on.

I`m also looking forward to seeing the battle between Gavin Mahon and Darel Russell in midfield. I think that one could be very interesting indeed – and get a bit tasty.

Finally what are your predictions for Wednesday night?

I`m hoping our season is off and running now after the Plymouth win. There`s always a good crowd at Carrow Road and midweek games usually add a little something to the atmosphere. I`m going to go for 2-1 City.

How do you rate Rangers chances? We want to know YOUR thoughts!

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