By 90Min
March 25, 2019

Championship top scorer, a 2x Championship Player of the Month, and November's Manager of the Month. By anyone's standards, Norwich City are having a fine season. Top of the table with just nine games remaining, they are many bookmakers' favourites for promotion.

The Canaries' turnaround has been remarkable. After star man James Maddison was sold to Premier League Leicester City for a club-record £24m in the summer, Norwich spent less than £5m on a number of players designed to strengthen the squad, aiming to share around the goals lost from the departure of last season's talisman.

They declined to throw the sort of money around that has seen the likes of Britt Assombalonga and Scott Hogan move for hefty sums in recent years, choosing to remain frugal after parachute payments ended following relegation in 2016. The free transfer of Finland international Teemu Pukki was announced in June to little fanfare, yet the Championship top scorer has defied all expectations to become the lynchpin of the Canaries' attack. Argentine playmaker Emi Buendía cost around £1.5m from Spanish side Getafe and has since blossomed into a key creative influence capable of moments of magic.

Norwich's heavy emphasis on youth has allowed a number of prodigious talents to make their way into the first team. Full-backs Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis have starred in their roles, while the likes of Ben Godfrey and Todd Cantwell have been regular fixtures in the matchday squad.

It's easy to forget City head coach Daniel Farke endured a difficult opening season following his appointment in 2017, finishing 14th below arch-rivals Ipswich Town. Fans were visibly frustrated with the German's apparent tactical stubbornness, with some even calling for his sacking.

James Chance/GettyImages

Norwich's start to this season did little to lift the mood around Carrow Road. Three losses in their opening five games included defeats against future promotion rivals Leeds and Sheffield United

Fast forward seven months and the atmosphere couldn't be more different. Wednesday's 3-2 win over Hull City was the Canaries fifth in a row, and the announcement of a new three-year contract for Farke before kick-off only enhanced the already buoyant feeling around the club.

While much of this progression can be attributed to the playing and coaching staff, the influence of sporting director Stuart Webber cannot be ignored.

The Welshman arrived in April 2017 with a strong reputation following successful stints with Huddersfield Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers. In recruiting Farke from Borussia Dortmund II, he repeated a tactic with similar success to the appointment of David Wagner while with the Terriers. Many fans agree he remains crucial to the Canaries' success both on and off the pitch.

While the battle for promotion to the Premier League will likely go down to the wire, the strength of this campaign will give Norwich fans hope for a sustained period of success.

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