Much has been made of the double training sessions that David Wagner has introduced since he took over at Norwich City.  

It’s starting to feel like a similar regime might need to be implemented for commentators.  

This new all-action, high octane Canaries team is tough to keep up with. I liked the sound of Wagner’s plans at his first press conference as City head coach when he talked of playing with a higher intensity.  

What I had forgotten to take into account was that a faster paced, more relentless style on the pitch would need to be matched on the radio. Those breathless victories at Preston and Coventry have left me feeling as exhausted as Andy Murray after a 4am finish at The Australian Open.  

There has been a temptation to link everything that Wagner does back to the days of Daniel Farke.  

Onel Hernandez spoke to us after scoring in Saturday’s victory and even he said it “felt like old times”.  

Already some significant differences between the approaches favoured by the two Germans are emerging.  

Farke’s two promotions were punctuated by a series of memorable late goals. No-one dared leave Carrow Road early during that 2018-19 campaign for fear of missing a Mario Vrancic free-kick special, some stoppage time heroics from Teemu Pukki or a Hernandez inspired fightback. The evidence so far suggests that David Wagner likes to get the job done much earlier.  

Against both Preston and Coventry Norwich City have stormed out of the blocks. Linford Christie used to talk about the importance of going on “The B of the bang” in a 100m race when the starting gun fired. Wagner seems to tell his team to attack from the P of the peep of the referee’s first whistle.  

They’ve begun both games with the sort of eagerness that our dog shows if his morning walk is delayed. The difference being that, once allowed out, one is keen to race off the lead and the other is wasting no time in grabbing it. Being 3-0 up inside half an hour at Preston was impressive but they shattered their personal best by around 10 minutes against Coventry. Trying to find the right words to do justice to such blistering starts on successive Saturdays has been a challenge.  

The Pink Un: David Wagner has upped the intensity levels to Norwich City's play.David Wagner has upped the intensity levels to Norwich City's play. (Image: Focus Images)

Coventry’s mini-comeback planted enough seeds of doubt to remind us that Wagner still has plenty of work to do. Although the way he was able to find a plan to lasso in what he described as City’s ‘Wild West football’ at half-time was encouraging.  

Championship success tends to be built on momentum. Both West Brom and Middlesbrough have already new-manager-bounced up the table this season. Nottingham Forest were promoted last term after giving the entire division a head start before replacing Chris Hughton with Steve Cooper.  

For that reason it is a blow that Norwich’s scheduled Championship clash with Birmingham isn’t going ahead at Carrow Road on Saturday. A home league game on the back of two high-scoring away performances would have been quite an occasion in front of a home support starved of excitement since returning from lockdown.  

It means that Wagner’s first home league game will be against Burnley, the league leaders, on February 4. City’s awful autumn has left them 20 points off the pace.  

The rest of February may well decide how realistic a promotion push this season really is. Between 11th and 25th of next month Norwich will play Bristol City (a), Hull City (h), Wigan (a), Birmingham (h) and Cardiff (h). None of those opponents are currently above 16th in the table.  

The Championship doesn’t always follow the form book. It’s worth remembering that under Dean Smith the Canaries lost to two of those teams and could only draw at home with Wigan, who are now bottom.  

It is though undoubtedly a run of fixtures that, if the heights of the last two performances can be matched, could yield a decent return of points. There will be just 12 games left of the season at that point. If City can come out of that run with a bit of that magic momentum then anything is possible. 

It’s beginning to feel like the last three months of this season could be eventful and quite fun to watch.  

I had better get on the treadmill and start those double training sessions to maintain any hope of keeping up with it all.  


Classy Coventry

My football experience tends to be one seen through yellow and green glasses. The mood is often dictated by how Norwich City have fared.  

Sometimes though it’s worth paying a bit of attention to the opposition. It was hard not to leave Coventry on Saturday without heaps of admiration for what that club is achieving against the odds.  

When Mark Robins returned as manager in 2017 Coventry were in League Two. Several years of financial issues and boardroom chaos had left the club on its knees. Things haven’t particularly stabilised in recent years. Remember that Norwich City’s previous away fixture against Coventry in 2021 was played at Birmingham City’s stadium. The Sky Blues have had two separate spells playing at other grounds while locked out of what is now called The CBS Arena.  

Yet Robins has stoically guided the team up through two divisions. Their spirited fightback from 3-0 down after 20 minutes was a credit to him. Other squads, as ravaged by injury as Coventry currently are, would have downed tools.  

What really impressed about the club though was their handling of the minute’s applause in memory of Amber Sheehy. Norwich City’s fan of the year from last season died recently just an hour before her ninth birthday.  

The ‘Clap for Amber’ campaign was quickly taken on by Canaries fans. The idea was for the Norwich fans in the ground to applaud in Amber’s honour after 8 minutes of the match.  

Coventry City embraced it too. They informed the home supporters of Amber’s story in the days leading up to the game. They even had a photo of Amber ready to go on the big screen at the appropriate time.  

It led to a touching moment in the stands as the game continued on the pitch. A reminder of how good football can be when its community comes together.  

Norwich City supporters were always going to do one of their own proud. The way Coventry City handled it was incredibly classy.