Adam Idah has become a surprisingly divisive figure at Norwich City in recent times. Now, their goalscoring prospects fall on his shoulders in Josh Sargent and Ashley Barnes’ injury absences.

Idah has copped plenty of flak for both his record, performances and injuries of his own. If ever he needs to come good and prove his worth, it is now.

The narrative feels like it’s been set. Idah’s had plenty of opportunities, hasn’t he? His goal scoring record is abysmal, isn’t it? Well, there is a significant amount of context behind those numbers.

Idah, for a player will be 23 come the end of the Championship campaign, has only made 14 starts in the Championship for Norwich. For context, that is four fewer than Liam Gibbs (20).

35 of his 49 Championship outings have come as a substitute. Only in 15 has he been on the pitch for longer than 45 minutes. For 14 of those games, the same number as he’s started, Idah has been on the pitch for fewer than 15 minutes. Anyone claiming that is a sufficient portion of time to make a real and prolonged impact is kidding themselves.

The numbers can be flipped. It’s seven goals in 14 starts at this level. That’s not a bad record. But, in the same way as using his goal count against his total number of matches, that disregards the context wholeheartedly.

Idah has been sat behind Teemu Pukki, one of the best strikers in the club’s history, in his time in the first-team. Opportunities were always going to be limited. He needed a loan, yes, but Norwich needed a back-up to the Finnish international. Few were willing to join in those circumstances.

So, his personal development was sacrificed at the expense of providing cover for Pukki. He has the playing minutes of a player significantly younger than him, and he hasn’t had the time on the pitch to make his mark.

Idah hasn’t encountered an opening like this at Norwich since he graduated from the academy. He needs to deliver.

This season has been much improved. His performances have been impactful. He made a real difference when introduced against Leicester in midweek and was the better of the two strikers in their 1-0 win over Stoke last weekend.

It’s been interesting to witness the difference in narrative between Barnes and Idah.

The Pink Un: Adam Idah is stepping into Ashley Barnes' shoes for Norwich City.Adam Idah is stepping into Ashley Barnes' shoes for Norwich City. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

Barnes has only scored twice this season. The same as Idah. One of those was a penalty – yet his impact has been lauded. Goals haven’t been the only measure used to rate his level of performance.

It is odd that certain players are given more stick than others at certain times. There is no real science behind it. Everyone who has watched football can name a host of players who have emerged as that figure – fairly in some cases and unfairly in others.

The sample size for Idah is still too small to make a judgement either way. Now he has a run of matches to show what he can do. That will, ultimately, fall on his shoulders.

He has constantly been beaten over the head with a five-year contract as if he drafted it and offered it to himself. Those who should face criticism over that decision should be those who awarded it to Idah. He only signed it.

There are things supporters can do to help him to ease the pressure.

When talking to Idah, there is a shy personality behind the powerful forward. He admitted after Norwich’s 4-0 victory over Huddersfield that confidence was a real issue for him.

Idah has shown himself to be the type of player and personality that events, positively or negatively, effect his performance on the pitch.

He can do it. Remember those Premier League games against Everton and West Ham? He was the answer then before injuries affected his progress. Just two weeks ago he gave a back three of Virgil van Dijk, Nathan Ake and Matthijs de Ligt real problems.

It took a driving run and an assist for Jon Rowe at Huddersfield to spark a positive performance in that 4-0 drubbing of the Terriers in August. Idah went onto show real composure to convert the fourth goal in that game.

Likewise for Ireland, a penalty after two minutes sparked an excellent performance against the Netherlands in spite of a disappointing defeat in the September international break.

This is a young man who needs to feed off positive energy, not constant criticism or jibes. Imagine if that was the environment at Carrow Road. It works both ways; Idah has to show enough to maintain it – but with the striking injuries, he needs the supporters to back him during matches, starting today at Plymouth.

Idah has the qualities and the ability. You don’t get three coaches lining up to praise you otherwise. You don’t get into a Championship team if those attributes don’t exist. You don’t score the goals that he has at youth and senior level if you don’t.

The Pink Un: Adam Idah made a positive contribution after coming off the bench against Leicester City. Adam Idah made a positive contribution after coming off the bench against Leicester City. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

Perhaps what he needs is to tap into Jon Rowe’s mentality to propel himself forward.

The striker has to uphold his end of the bargain – Norwich and Idah know that. But he will now be afforded a proper run of matches in Barnes and Sargent’s absence.

 If he doesn’t deliver, doesn’t score and doesn’t perform, then he will be criticised and that will be just.

But let him fail before that wave of negativity comes his way. Let’s see what he can do. Wipe the slate clean, leave those preconceived ideas on the coach and hopefully a positive environment, run of matches and clarity can bring the best out of him.