The final international break of 2017 is done and dusted and domestic football returns to see us through the depths of winter. City return to action against a Barnsley side again defying expectations. Andrew Lawn spoke to Allen Cooper to find out what's going on and what Marley Watkins is...
Andy - First question; Paul Heckingbottom, is he off to Sunderland? If so, why?!
Allen - Ha I'd love to know the answer to that! My gut tells me no. If Sunderland really wanted him surely they'd have approached us by now? He'd earn more money there and of course they're a bigger club, but they're in a right state. Poor players on big wages, very negative crowd and bottom of the league. He'd have to turn them round quick and they don't give their managers long. For me he's a long term project type manager/head coach not an impact appointment.
He certainly seems to have done an excellent job at Oakwell, not only turning you around in League 1 and flourishing last year, but being steady again this despite some key players being pinched over the summer (ahem). Is this season purely about survival as it appeared to be from the outside looking in?
For me it was to begin with, and it's still the primary aim. But as long as Hecky stays I think we could easily finish mid-table.
I can't really see us losing anyone other than Yiadom in January, whereas last year we were decimated half way through the season.
Talking of which; Marley Watkins. I think most City fans would say they have been underwhelmed by him so far. First question, is he a striker or a wide man? 2nd, what should we be seeing in him?
Yeah I've heard he's not pulled up any trees as yet at Carrow Road. I preferred him as a striker - strong as an ox, brought people into the game and a pretty good finisher.
Could be a classic example of Hecky getting the best out of another player with either an average or non-existent previous history in the game... though he was decent under the previous manager too.
Hopefully it is a confidence thing and a goal will see him spark into life. Saturday would be a good place to start no? So, with Marley and co gone, who are the new stars of the show that we should look out for Saturday?
Haha, another blank will do nicely thanks.
Harvey Barnes, on loan from Leicester, has been scoring and assisting for fun recently; and Tom Bradshaw has been in good goalscoring form. At the back, Liam Lindsay has a touch of class - watch for a 50-yard cross field pass to feet.
What about the other side of that coin? Where can we get at you?
Ha, I'm not going to reveal that am I? To be honest now we have our first choice full backs available it's not obvious. Start of the season I'd have said our left back area but our full backs were excellent in our last game. Probably aerially if anything.
We’re not really an aerial team so will try and pick you apart instead. Have you seen much of our new continental approach this season?
No to be honest I haven't, though it doesn't surprise me after watching quite a lot of Huddersfield last season under another former Dortmund man. It worked for them, maybe it will in time for Norwich.
What are you hoping for (and expecting) from Saturday?
We have a dismal record at Carrow Road, and we never seem to break the bad records we have against some teams. On that basis only I'd say a point would be a good result, especially given we've got a bit of breathing space from the bottom 3 now.
Ignoring that, we could easily lose by a couple if we're not on it but equally come away with a win if we're on form. The Championship is notoriously hard to predict so I'll go for 1-1.
I think we might benefit from the break and come out firing so I’ll go for a bold 3-0.
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