Behind Enemy Lines: Norwich City

MILLWALL go in search of a first win in 11 away games since Tom Elliott and Ben Marshall struck to lift the Lions into sixth in the Championship on April 10.

Marshall is now at Norwich but has played just four times in the league this season after being dropped and then coming down with a stomach bug that caused him to lose weight.

The Canaries’ 4-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday lifted Daniel Farke's men to the top of the Championship before Leeds' defeat of Wigan dropped them back to second.

It is a run – eight wins in 10 games – which has largely gone unnoticed, but one which has Norwich fans beginning to believe a challenge for promotion is possible.

Lucas Ball spoke to Rob Butler this week.

Twitter: @BobRutler

Why do you support Norwich?

My dad didn’t give me a choice in the matter – it was either support Norwich or not go to football! It’s my local team as I was born and bred in Norfolk, so there really was no argument from me.

I was lucky enough to start going to in the mid-80’s which coincided with our best ever spell, so that gave me the bug for life.

What's been your favourite season following the Canaries?

It has to be the 1992-93 inaugural Premier League season, mainly because we nearly won it. We were 10 points clear at the top on Christmas Day. The football played by Mike Walker’s side was incredible with the likes of Chris Sutton, Ruel Fox and Ian Crook in the team, it was a pleasure to watch.

We ended up finishing third behind Manchester United and Aston Villa. The UEFA Cup run the following season is another story.

And the worst?

We got relegated to League One in 2008-09, that was a dreadful season. Glenn Roeder was the manager for the majority of it before the legend Bryan Gunn came in but couldn’t keep us up.

Roeder just never endeared himself to our fans and constantly slated them in the local press. It was a really sad time.

What are your thoughts on Daniel Farke?

He’s done an amazing job this season after a poor campaign last year. We are playing excellent football and against all the odds look like serious promotion candidates. He’s a lovely guy too, a pleasure to interview.

Norwich now sit second in the Championship after a run of form that has gone largely unnoticed, what's been the key to that success?

It’s really down to Farke sticking to his principles and playing patient passing football. He didn’t panic following a poor start and trusted in the likes of Moritz Leitner (who signed permanently in the summer after a loan spell) and Teemu Pukki, who must be one of the best free transfers in our history. He is banging in the goals.

Do you believe that this side can maintain it for the whole campaign?

I really hope so, but it’s a big ask. To be fair, we have had a lot of injuries but have still been winning. The Championship is such a bear-pit and so tough to get out of, all we can do is take each game as it comes.

Looking ahead to January, where do you need to strengthen?

I think we need a third striker to challenge Jordan Rhodes and Teemu Pukki. German Dennis Srbeny is currently in the role and just doesn’t really look cut out for Championship football, though he is improving. I’d also be keen on another winger, it’s always great to have options in that area.

Former Millwall loanee Ben Marshall is of course playing at Carrow Road now, what are your thoughts on him since his arrival in the summer?

He started out okay, but has since been injured and out of the squad for large spells. He was on the bench at Wednesday last week though. We were all excited when we signed him but the jury is very much still out on him.

Who will be the danger men for the hosts?

If you stop Mo Leitner, you stop Norwich. He’s the heartbeat of the team and his passing is exceptional. Also, don’t give Pukki any chances as he just doesn’t miss at the moment.

Likewise, which Millwall players will Farke be wary of?

I was always a big fan of Steve Morison when he was at Norwich and I know he’s well-loved at The Den. He scored a cracker at Carrow Road last season so I think we will still be wary of the old campaigner.

What are your thoughts on Lions boss Neil Harris?

He’s a very good manager and has done wonders with Millwall, a club I have genuine affection for as we always get such a nice welcome at your place.

He’s also an inspiration after surviving testicular cancer and doing all the charity work he has to raise awareness. I’m a big fan of his and I think he’s destined for big things in management.

If you could sign one of his players, who would it be and why?

I’ve always liked the look of Ryan Tunnicliffe, despite his spell at Ipswich! Anyone who began their career at Manchester United has to be a bit special.

Millwall haven't won in their last 10 away games, while Norwich are heading into this one unbeaten in their last two at home, as well as having won 4-0 away from home at the weekend. Is it a perfect time to be playing Harris' side?

Millwall are always tough to beat so we won’t take it for granted at all. Just hope our bubble doesn’t burst quite yet. We are good at home, a complete change from last season when we really struggled. It should be a cracking tussle.

What's your predicted Norwich formation and starting XI?

After the 4-0 win at Wednesday last week I would be surprised if Farke changes it, but we may have Todd Cantwell fit again. He’s a local boy who has done really well since getting a chance under Farke.

On-loan Jordan Rhodes will also come back into the squad, he was ineligible to play at Hillsborough against his parent club.


Krul; Aarons, Zimmermann, Klose, Lewis; Tettey, Leitner; Buendia, Vrancic, Hernandez; Pukki.

Will you be at the game on Saturday?

Yes, I’ll be up in the gantry. I present a phone-in show called Canary Call on BBC Radio Norfolk after the game. Would love for some Millwall fans to call in, number is 0800 3897 321!

Finally, what's your score prediction?


Graphic: @ShedCreative