Five huge league games and an FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester United – the atmosphere at Carrow Road could have been incredible for our end of season run-in.
Although there won’t be any fans inside the stadium, skipper Grant Hanley and the rest of the Norwich City squad don’t need reminding how important this period will be.
Speaking in our matchday programme, OTBC, which can be ordered ahead of Friday’s Southampton game here, the Scotsman knows we’ll still be giving one hundred and ten percent.
“For sure, I think the fans here are second to none and it’s a massive part of playing for this Club,” he said. “The players appreciate it and we know how much it means to them and how important it is to them.
“It’s going to be strange and it’ll be sad that they can’t be in the stadium to support us, because they do make a massive difference, but we’re going to give it our all.”
In our previous game against Ralph Hassenhuttl’s Saints, City came away from the south coast with a 2-1 defeat. Hanley didn’t feature in that match but does recall some valuable lessons that were learned.
“I can remember conversations after that around people who were in the game and we definitely had the chance to win it, but we conceded a couple from set-plays which is not ideal,” he said.
“It’ll be interesting. The game is going to be totally different having not played for a while. I think we’re just concentrating on ourselves and every game for us now is like a final. We need to make sure we’re ready and we can do our job.”
Of course, every cloud has a silver lining, and one benefit of the break caused by COVID-19 is that certain players with long-term injuries have been able to recover in time for the games ahead, giving Daniel Farke more tools at his disposal.
“You need that competitive side in the squad, players that are competing for places and players that push each other to get the best out of them,” Hanley added. “The more players you have fit, the more players you can have fighting for that starting line-up. That healthy competition in the squad is good for us and helps us improve.”
Read the full interview with Grant and much more in the new issue of OTBC.