Parkinson backing Norwich City

PUBLISHED: 18:25 18 September 2009 | UPDATED: 16:31 10 September 2010

Chris Lakey

Charlton boss Phil Parkinson is backing the Canaries to be among the promotion challengers at the end of the season - but admits he's surprised how events unfolded at Carrow Road in the opening weeks of the season.

Charlton boss Phil Parkinson is backing the Canaries to be among the promotion challengers at the end of the season - but admits he's surprised how events unfolded at Carrow Road in the opening weeks of the season.

Both teams went down at the end of last season, but while Parkinson has led Charlton to the top of League One after seven games, City have only just managed to steady a very rocky ship, having sacked the man at the helm, Bryan Gunn.

“It was strange from the outside,” said Parkinson. “You let a manager bring in 10 players over the summer and then sack him after one (league) game, albeit a 7-1 defeat.

“They backed him and he spent a few quid - Grant Holt was a hefty transfer fee - but then sacked him after one league game so it was surprising.”

But Parkinson believes new manager Paul Lambert - like Parkinson a former Colchester boss - will see them through.

“Like Southampton, Norwich can be difficult to predict, both in terms of their personnel and their system,” he said.

“At home they tend to play 4-4-2, and it's 4-5-1 away from home. We've identified who their key players are, but there has been a huge turnaround in both the management and the playing squad.

“They'll be up there; they've got a lot of quality in the squad and a lot of strength in depth.”

While City mangers past and present have tinkered with the line-up, Parkinson has been able to name the same starting line-up for every one of Charlton's league matches so far this term.

“Of course it helps,” he said. “It's difficult for the ones out of the team, but it's up to them to keep themselves fit and make sure they take the chance when it comes.

“They've been working hard, they haven't let their heads go down and they've contributed in terms of their attitude.

“If we weren't doing well I'm sure they'd be banging on my door, but when players see the team playing well, it's difficult for them to say they should be in the team.

“It's impossible to go the whole season with the same team, but we're happy we're able to at the moment and long may it continue.”

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