Andy Johnson expects reaction from Norwich City players against West Brom following Newcastle humbling
PUBLISHED: 06:30 22 October 2015 | UPDATED: 09:47 22 October 2015
West Brom must be wary of Norwich City being shocked into action by their 6-2 humbling at Newcastle, former Baggies and Canaries midfielder Andy Johnson has warned.
The 41-year-old, who now works as an electrician in the West Midlands, is eagerly awaiting Saturday’s clash between his two former clubs – and is expecting sparks to fly as both teams try to build some momentum.
“West Brom beat Sunderland 1-0 last week and everyone had said that was a must-win game, and they did win,” said Johnson. “So hopefully that’s the start of some momentum and they can carry that on.
“But at the same time, I wouldn’t want to face Norwich after that 6-2 loss at Newcastle because I think there will have been a few smacked bottoms and a few rants and raves behind the scenes.”
City could field three former Baggies in the game – in Youssouf Mulumbu, Andre Wisdom and Graham Dorrans – with Johnson a particular fan of Dorrans.
“I was immensely sad to see him go, he’s an exceptional player. I was a big fan of his,” the former midfielder said of Dorrans joining City permanently this summer. “But I was glad to see him go to Norwich because I know what a good club he has joined.”
Bristol-born Johnson is in the comfortable position of being in a ‘win, win’ situation ahead of Saturday’s clash – having enjoyed successful spells with both Albion and the Canaries.
An under-strength Baggies side were beaten 3-0 at Carrow Road in the third round of the Capital One Cup last month and lost their following two league matches.
However Tony Pulis’ side got back to winning ways with a 1-0 home win over struggling Sunderland last weekend and Johnson, who made 143 appearances for Albion between 2001 and 2006, believes the Baggies are showing signs of stability.
“They look very solid, Tony’s sides are always well organised and a lot of my friends here say they are very solid, so I don’t think it’s going to be a problem for them this season,” Johnson said.
“It depends how much they are wanting to do this season. They are relatively well established at this level now and the club is geared up for it so I don’t think they’ll have problems.
“They’ve had a lot of managers come and go recently and Tony has come in and done a good job, stabilised things, made one or two changes in personnel and overall I think if you look at his record since he’s gone in there, he’s done a good job.
“The trouble is, like with everything in life, success means expectations go up, that’s just human nature, and rightly so. But they play quite attractive football and are nice and solid so they are in a nice place to try and move on from.”
The 41-year-old also keeps a close eye on the Canaries though, having started his career in Norfolk.
Johnson made his senior debut as a 17-year-old for City in 1992 and his first senior goal a year later, in a 3-3 final-day draw at Middlesbrough, helped seal a UEFA Cup place.
The central midfielder went on to be capped 15 times for Wales and played for Nottingham Forest, Albion and Leciester – before finishing his career at King’s Lynn.
“Norwich are a good side and I don’t see them having any problems either,” he continued.
“It’s a great club which will always be in my heart. I grew up there and cut my teeth in the game at the club. There are some fantastic people in the area and I’ve still got friends there, so I always look out for their results.
“It should be a really good game between two sides who are not in the best form so both will fancy their chances, so it should be quite an open game.”
Johnson is no longer involved directly in the game and works as an electrician in the West Midlands. However, he has been impressed from afar by the work of Canaries boss Alex Neil in leading the club back to the top flight.
“I like Alex Neil. He’s a strong character, his own man, has his own way of doing things and good luck to him, I think he’s doing a good job,” Johnson added.
“His side are exciting and good to watch when they are on form. Unfortunately they’re not quite hitting the form that they want to so we’ll have to see how they get on, but for me, I’ve got a foot in both camps, so it’s win-win for me!”