Former Norwich City boss Dean Smith is relishing a MLS reunion with Teemu Pukki when his Charlotte side face Minnesota United this weekend. 

The pair, who worked together at Carrow Road, are set to face it off at the Bank of America Stadium on Sunday with both sides vying for final series qualification. 

Smith has had a mixed start as boss of Charlotte, winning three, drawing two and losing three of his opening eight matches in charge of the American side. 

Minnesota, who reside in the Western Conference, have won three, drawn two and lost two of their opening seven matches. Pukki, 34, has two goals so far this term. 

Pukki played 53 times during Smith’s tenure as Norwich head coach between 2021 and 2022, netting on 16 occasions before departing last summer for a fresh challenge. 

Smith went on to have a brief spell at Leicester but was unable to prevent them from Premier League relegation before moving to the MLS. 

As he prepares to meet Pukki this weekend, Smith was full of praise for the Finnish international and is excited for a reunion, even if his focus is on halting his former player. 

“He’s a very good player but better than that, he’s a really good person as well,” Smith said at his pre-match press conference on Friday. 

“I saw him at the market day down in Miami and it was good to catch up with him again. He’s really enjoying his time in Minnesota. 

The Pink Un: Pukki netted 16 goals in 53 games under Smith during their time at Norwich.Pukki netted 16 goals in 53 games under Smith during their time at Norwich. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

“He’s good friends with Jere (Uronen) as well. He will tell us everything that we need to know. I certainly know that his movement is very good and he’s a really good goal scorer, but he’s also a really good team mate. 

“We have to be at our best too, not just stop him, but also (Robin) Lod who plays behind him as well. They have the chemistry and the nationality that connects them. 

“They’ve got a good team and they’ve proven a few people wrong this season with the start that they’ve had. We have to make sure that we’re switched on.”