Andy Marshall backing Norwich City to challenge

Chris Lakey Former Norwich City keeper Andy Marshall believes the Canaries are well equipped to edge the battle for East Anglian supremacy ahead of their Championship return.

Chris Lakey

Former Norwich City keeper Andy Marshall believes the Canaries are well equipped to edge the battle for East Anglian supremacy ahead of their Championship return.

Marshall infamously crossed the 'Old Farm' divide to join Ipswich in 2001 but is backing Paul Lambert's squad to more than match the Tractor Boys this coming season.

The 35-year-old has played in the Championship with both clubs along with Millwall and Coventry and is confident Norwich can build on League One title success.

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“I fancy Norwich to do very, very well this year and they have made some decent summer signings,” said Marshall. “I don't know too much about John Ruddy but if the manager has signed him, he will be a decent talent. They have a manager there who is only going to progress and I see them challenging at the right end of the table.

“They are a club that hit rock bottom in the last 18 months but it has gradually been built back up again now. It might be a step too far to say they will challenge for promotion but they will definitely be safe.

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“It's tough to say at the moment whether they can do better than Ipswich. What you can say is that Ipswich well under-performed last year and a lot it comes down to the start. I feel Watford will struggle this season so Norwich have a massive chance to get up and running in that first game.”

Marshall was branded a 'Judas' on his first Carrow Road return with City's bitter Suffolk rivals but has not ruled out one final Norfolk swansong despite being a free agent since his summer release from Aston Villa. The former Norwich trainee has turned out for Colchester during pre-season and aims to continue in the professional ranks alongside launching a series of goalkeeping academies to unearth the next generation of talent.

“I still get an 'interesting' reception but I actually love going back and hopefully can do that another two or three times before I finish my career,” he said. “I follow the club now just as much as I did in the past. I want to try and play for another two years but at the moment I don't have a club which is why I am concentrating on this project. Long term, it's something I want to be involved in on the business and coaching level. I have been lucky to work at some very good clubs and I can bring the benefit of that to grassroots coaching. We're already working with the Ryman League and certain other club academies, both on a grassroots and professional level.”

Marshall has enlisted the help of former City goalkeeping coach Paul Crichton whilst ex-City, West Ham and England keeper Robert Green has also endorsed his new initiative in partnership with goalkeeping glove manufacturer Sells.

“We've just had our first young goalkeeper go to a Championship club and we feel there is a lot of goalkeeping tuition and guidance at grassroots level that is not professional enough,” said Marshall. “The likes of myself, Crichts, Andy Dibble, Chris Woods and many others are getting involved.

“We're opening up academies all over the country and we have two in Norfolk and Suffolk starting September. It's for any talented keepers from the age of eight upwards. We've already run some demonstrations which have been extremely successful and it's all about getting ex and current goalkeepers and coaches to work with the grassroots.”

t For further information on upcoming courses at both Easton College in Norwich and Lowestoft visit

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