Norwich have been, like Saturday’s visitors Reading, inconsistent in the Championship so far.
The mid-table Canaries have so far won three, drawn two and lost three of their eight league matches so far – and have not managed to string more than one victory together at a time.
They drew 1-1 at Fulham on the opening day and then lost 3-1 at home to Sunderland before bouncing back to beat QPR 2-0 three days later.
A 4-2 defeat at Aston Villa followed before they were hammered 4-0 at Millwall – but they are unbeaten in three Championship matches since then as they beat Birmingham 1-0, were held to a goalless draw by Burton and then won 1-0 at Sheffield United on Saturday.
Norwich have won the League Cup twice – once in its second season of 1961/62 and again in 1984/85.
In 1962, they beat Rochdale 4-0 on aggregate – following up a 3-0 win at Spotland with a 1-0 triumph at Carrow Road.
Then, in 1985, they beat Sunderland 1-0 at Wembley.
Their progress to tonight’s third round tie has been steady – with a 3-2 first round win over Swindon being followed by a 4-1 triumph over Charlton.
WHO’S IN CHARGE
Daniel Farke was appointed as Alex Neil’s successor at Carrow Road at the end of May.
Farke took over as Borussia Dortmund’s reserve team coach in 2015 – replacing David Wagner after he left to go to Huddersfield.
Stuart Webber, now the Canaries’ sporting director, was with the Terriers at the time that Wagner joined the club.
Farke, who spent his playing career in Germany’s lower divisions, is Norwich’s first foreign manager and on being appointed, he told BBC Radio Norfolk: “The atmosphere at Dortmund is one that always stays together, especially in difficult phases of the season.”
The less said about last season’s two meetings the better.
We were thrashed 5-0 by a Norwich side which had lost its previous five Championship matches and then drew 0-0 in a poor match, which had been moved back to 5.30 on New Year’s Eve by Sky.
Q – How has Daniel Farke settled in and what has changed at the club under his leadership?
A – It’s been a summer of change the like of which we haven’t seen before at Carrow Road. Farke is the club’s first foreign manager (or head coach as we have to get used to calling him) but his arrival came after an overhaul of the managerial structure at the club. Stuart Webber came in from Huddersfield as Sporting Director and set about bringing in 11 new players in the summer as well as selling two of last season’s star performers, Jonny Howson and Jacob Murphy, in a bid to help balance the books after The Canaries missed out on promotion. To that end several other experienced and high earning players were let go at the end of their contracts. John Ruddy, Sebastien Bassong and Ryan Bennett were among those shown the door.
Q – It’s been a hard start to the season – what do you put that down to?
A – It depends what expectations were at the start of the season but I thought Norwich might not hit the ground running because of the sheer amount of change over the summer. Farke’s cause wasn’t helped by having to start the season without Timm Klose and Alex Pritchard because of injury. By the time the first international break came around we had the worst defensive record in the division after shipping four goals at Millwall and Aston Villa and three at home to Sunderland. Those matches seem to have served a useful lesson in the importance of being organised defensively and over the past few weeks he’s brought Alex Tettey back into the side and his employing one of the new signings, Tom Trybull, alongside him as a holding midfield partnership. That tactical switch coupled with the return of Klose has led to City keeping three straight clean sheets. I wouldn’t have thought that possible after seeing the 4-0 loss at Millwall just three weeks ago.
Q – What are the expectations for this season?
A – It’s a real step into the unknown. An 8th place finish last season cost Alex Neil his job and was seen as a massive failure, it also sparked the big summer rebuild. If any other side had finished 8th, sold two of their best players and brought in so many new ones while reducing the wage bill we probably wouldn’t expect them to challenge in The Championship the following year. But Norwich fans are used to seeing a side challenge for promotion at the very least having spent four of the past seven seasons in the Premier League so, while supporters have stayed with the team over a difficult opening to the season, there will be a demand to see the club competing at the right end of the table.
Q – How seriously are Norwich taking the League Cup – what sort of teams have they fielded so far and what do you expect at Griffin Park? Is a cup run in any way a priority for the club?
A – Daniel Farke has made all the right noises about wanting a cup run and they’ve certainly approached the wins over Swindon and Charlton in the right way. The fact they had to come from behind in both matches shows that they’re not going to roll over in the League Cup. With the transfer business now complete and players returning to fitness we have some experienced players like Steven Naismith and Russell Martin who haven’t been getting into the side in recent weeks so, if changes are made tonight, Norwich will have a few players with points to prove.
Q – How do you feel about Brentford’s season – the miserable start and flurry of departures, plus the new signings who all came in before a ball was kicked?
A – I feel like we’ve already played Brentford having commentated on Harlee Dean, Maxime Colin and Jota the other week. Hopefully the fact Norwich beat Birmingham 1-0 will have pleased any Brentford supporters feeling a bit sore about the departure of so many players.
PUBS IN BRENTFORD
For Norwich fans coming down, you are probably aware there plenty of pub options
pre-match and all are most welcoming.
Last season, there were now only three pubs around the ground, following the
closure of the Royal Oak.
The Griffin is closest to the away end (like 30 secs walk) and is very popular with
away fans – but also very, very busy. The New Inn is on the other side and is also
popular with away fans. The Princess Royal is the other option.
But at July’s friendly with Celta Vigo, a pop-up version of the Royal Oak was set up
outside the now closed boozer to bring back the “four corners” feature again.
Other pubs slightly further afield for the more creative amongst you include (and this
is by no means a definitive list) …. The Globe (Windmill Rd) is the Beesotted pre-
match pub. This boozer & The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) are both incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs and about 1 min walk from each other .. frequented by “away fans in the know”.
The Plough (Northfields Ave) in Northfields is a decent stop-off if you are coming
by tube to Northfields (it’s a much better pub crawl route getting off at Northfields
than South Ealing) before making your way down to the ground (normally stopping
off at The Globe and Lord Nelson en route).
There is also a pub right by Brentford station always referred to as … the Pub by
For ale head to the Magpie and Crown pub on Brentford High Street. The Royal
Horseguardsman can probably hold 15 of you at a push. The Brewery Tap is a
cosy boozer by the river. And if you are super adventurous, get off at Kew Bridge
and visit the brand new boozer One Over the Ait right on the river – beside the
bridge. There are loads more too.
A quick Google search and you’ll find them all. There are many, many more too if
you have a look around.
Parking is pretty easy away from the ground going up towards and over the A4
Great West Road (ie. North) via Ealing Road or Windmill Road.
You can check out details of how the tube is running on Transport for London’s website here.