Carrow Road hoping for winning start

PUBLISHED: 12:01 06 August 2009 | UPDATED: 16:24 10 September 2010

Norwich City will be bidding to break a barren first day sequence when they kick off their League One campaign in front of a sell-out crowd at home to Colchester United on Saturday.

Norwich City will be bidding to break a barren first day sequence when they kick off their League One campaign in front of a sell-out crowd at home to Colchester United on Saturday.

The Canaries have not won their opening fixture since the first match of 2002-3 - and that was their only winning start in the past 10 seasons.

On that occasion, they enjoyed an emphatic 4-0 home win over Grimsby Town in Nationwide League Division One, with a certain Paul McVeigh scoring twice.

Former Northern Ireland international McVeigh, now 31, is back in City's plans after re-signing for the club during the summer, with manager Bryan Gunn eager to get three points under his belt as his first full season in charge begins with a local derby at a packed Carrow Road.

City's first match in the third tier of English football for 49 years will be watched by a crowd of more than 25,000, with seats in home areas now sold out - apart from Top of the Terrace carvery tickets - and Colchester left with just a handful of their allocation of 1,700 seats unsold last night.

And Gunn will be determined to send all but those visiting fans in a full house home happy, with practically a fully-fit squad to pick from for the opening game after six wins and a draw in his side's pre-season programme.

He said: “I am really happy at the moment. I can't look back on the last six weeks and see anyone who has let themselves down in the training, in the way they have reported back, in the fitness levels and also in the matches that we have played so far.

“I would be really happy on Saturday night if all the good work turns into three points.”

City face two long journeys next week with Tuesday's Carling Cup trip to Yeovil followed by the first League One away fixture at Exeter on Saturday week.

“Next Tuesday we're in the Cup and the following week we have the opportunity to put more points on the board, and that's the benchmark now,” said Gunn.

“The pre-season work has gone, we have achieved what we wanted to achieve from it in bringing back the winning mentality, all the fitness work that's gone on and the players integrating and the bonding. That's all worked. Now it's the next phase of the mission, which is to get the team on the pitch and winning.

“That's what we will be measured by now - pre-season was great, but it's gone. Saturday at 3pm you are into League One and that's where the benchmark has got to be now.”

A limited number of tickets for the Colchester game will be available through the buy back scheme on the morning of the match. For details of carvery and corporate tickets, call 0844 8621902.

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