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Magpies Look To Close Gap On League Leading Canaries

This is slightly earlier than normal given that I think we are still getting over the slight disappointment of letting Saturday's lead slip so late on but as we all well know the games come thick and fast in the Championship.

There is no time to dwell on the dropped points at Villa as Wednesday sees the current league leaders come to town as we entertain Norwich City who obviously like Villa came down from the Premier League with us last season.

Unlike Villa though there doesn't really appear to have been much dwelling on that relegation by the Norfolk based club who have quietly gone about their business in the opening weeks of the season whilst a lot of focus has maybe been on other clubs like ourselves that tend to grab the headlines whether we want to or not.

I think this will be our first real big test of the season and the pressure is on us slightly given the last couple of league results for us and the fact that so far our form and home form in particular has been patchy.

I know some people will say that is a bit harsh as we sit nicely in 5th position well in touch with everybody but I don't think anyone can deny that our form so far this season has been very inconsistent and I think despite the points tally we have been bad more times then we have been really good.

Thankfully against some of the smaller teams our quality has maybe got us out of a tight spot but we can't keep relying on that and I certainly don't think that will happen against teams like Norwich. If we are not at the races against them like we weren't against Wolves or in the second half against Villa then they will beat us simple as that.

That isn't me having a go at the players or the manager as such as I appreciate we are maybe still a bit of a work in progress but at the same time it is starting to annoy me how it seems Rafa and the players seem to be immune from any criticism whatsoever at the minute.

The QPR game aside which I think was a massively freak result I don't think there has been much evidence that we have clicked as a team so far.

Yes there have been massive improvements most notably defensively but as an attacking force I think we look a little disjointed at times and need to be more clinical.

We let Villa off the hook massively on Saturday and that came down to 2 big misses from Gayle and Diame which you can't afford to be passing up at any level. Yes misses happen but it seems to be a bit of a reguar occurance at the moment and we certainly need someone like Gayle to start scoring on a regular basis so that we are not relying on our defence to hang on in games.

It will be interesting once again to see how Saturday's game effects the team selection. Based on performance I think the likes of Diame, Gayle and Shelvey (based on his 2nd half at Villa) could be looking over their shoulders and whilst I don't want to keep banging on about it I think Matz Sels should surely be on thin ice given some less than convincing displays so far this season.

Yedlin obviously went off with an injury on Saturday - hopefully that won't be too bad as he was probably our most dangerous player and Anita obviously has 1 game left on his ban. I think Ciaran Clark could be pushing to keep his place after an impressive return to Villa Park.

I would certainly like to see a couple of changes to just shake things up a little. Would really like to see Mitro get a start at some point whether that is alongside Gayle ideally or instead of him.

Whatever side we put out we need to quickly shake off this complaceny that I think we have shown at times in recent games. I think at times we think having a lot of possession is good enough and that will automatically lead to goals eventually but that isn't always the case and you have to go and try make think happen and go for the jugular a bit.

No better time to get back on track than a night game under the floodlights as the whether is starting to turn a bit cooler and the league leaders are the opposition.

It won't be easy that is for sure as Alex Neil has his troops well drilled and like every side that comes here they will be looking to take advantage of the expectation which is something the players need to start dealing with and quickly.

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