Whilst Leeds and Sheffield United do battle this weekend, Norwich City will be looking to take advantage on whoever drops points.
They face Rotherham United this weekend and know a win will take them a big step closer to a return to the Premier League.
We spoke to Richard Voisey of City of Yellows, then, to assess the clash…
1. Emiliano Buendia has the bit between his teeth – is he Norwich’s main man at the moment?
Emi Buendia has been putting in some man of the match performances in recent weeks in terms of both work rate, scoring and assisting goals.
The diminutive midfielder at first glance when joining City looked like a flair player who might get easily knocked off the ball and might possibly disappear in a hotly contested physical Championship environment. The outcome couldn’t be further from the truth.
In most games, Emi appears to get targeted for the rough treatment and every time he gets hit, he simply gets back on his feet and continues to terrify opponents. If he does take a knock, he will try and run off the pain which appears to be a trait in the City squad, probably due to the fear of being replaced and then finding it impossible to get back in the starting eleven.
Against Hull this week, fellow midfield maestro Tom Tryball was hobbling badly after a first-half hit but had no intention catching the eye from the technical area once back on his feet.
Emi seems to have worked hard on tracking back and providing a tough defensive shield, in doing so, the Argentinian has given away two penalties with poorly judged tackles or shoves. Chasing back to the Riverside on Wednesday it was noted how he pulled a tackle in the box, he appears to have learnt the lesson.
Emi has taken the plaudits for his performances however man of the match recognition in most City games could be given to a number of nominations as time and time again the lads play unselfishly for each other. Buendia is definitely a steal for his transfer fee of £1.5m with his skill, vision and work rate.
2. Daniel Farke has signed a new deal – pleased with that surely?
Daniel Farke has been a breath of fresh air at Carrow Road. Above all, he appears to be a thoroughly good bloke and a gentleman. On a professional level, he says the right things and is always respectful of the management, players and the fans.
He seems to have created a positive squad mentality which is always a challenge for those who do not make the starting line up, bench or even the squad.
I never felt any concern about the renewal of his contract due to the sincere attitude of Daniel and how he conducts himself. For some fans, who arguably see football as a simplistic plan to get the ball forward at the earliest opportunity it has been an education.
I enjoy how his team plays from the back to draw the opposition forward and exploit the gaps. The players play with structure and without fear in unravelling the opponents with quick, defence-splitting passes. This is topped off with the capability to break at pace and launch counterattacking long balls which turn the back line and produce goals. The addition of Teemu Pukki has completed the jigsaw from last season.
If City are promoted, my faith will remain with Daniel.
3. Rotherham up next – how tough will they be?
Whilst City sit top of the five-game form table with five wins, the Millers sit a respectable eighth with two wins, two draws and one defeat. They have in fact only lost once in the last seven league games. They will need to continue in this vain in hope of avoiding relegation this season.
22nd place is currently being fought for with Wigan, Reading and Millwall. My feeling is that the Canaries will, in their current mood, be too strong to contain. Rotherham have conceded eight goals in their last five games and will struggle against a Norwich team who are capable of scoring throughout the team with the exception of Tim Krul and Jamal Lewis.
4. Leeds take on Sheffield United – how important a moment is this weekend for Norwich in the title race?
The battle for the top two now appears to be a three horse race with Leeds, Sheffield United and City beating all before them. There are too many games still to go to make a judgement that the Leeds/Blades game for it to be a pivotal point in the season. The general consensus is that if the Canaries and Leeds do win, it could arguably become a two-horse race to decide the Champions.
5. Score prediction
Another three goals for City and a lapse of concentration or an aerial set piece for Rotherham. 1-3.