City boss raises the bar ahead of Carrow Road return
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City return to what Daniel Farke affectionately labels the Canaries' ‘living room’ on Tuesday against Gillingham, as the Premier League countdown begins in earnest at Carrow Road (KO 8pm).
The biggest home crowd since before the global pandemic is expected this evening for a tune up against the League One Gills.
City’s pre-season planning was hit by two friendly call offs last week due to a small number of positive Covid results in the camp.
Angus Gunn and Jacob Sorensen have now returned to the training group after self-isolating prior to the Colney friendly win over Huddersfield.
Norwich’s Championship title triumph was achieved largely against a backdrop of empty stadiums due to restrictions on social gatherings, bar a sample of test events.
City fans could only attend four home league fixtures last season, with a maximum of 2,000 allowed per match, the last of which was a 2-0 league win over Cardiff just before Christmas.
The club’s last tilt at top flight survival under Farke also ended in front of empty stands, during a ‘Project Restart’ period when they failed to win a Premier League game.
But bullish Farke, who recently signed a new four year deal, is planning for a much longer stay in the big league this time around.
“The next step is right now to become a really established Premier League club and, again, that's a big aim for the only self funded club on this level,” he said. “We could have spent all the money last time on top players but we were thinking about the next five to 10 years, not five months. We want to become a permanent member.
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“We had several seasons on the top level as a club in the modern era but, let's be honest, quite often it was just one year, perhaps two years. To spend five, six years in a row on the top level is a target.”
Farke knows plenty will again have written off the Canaries’ chances.
“We earned the right. We didn’t win the lottery,” he said. “This next step is huge, it is massive. We have to stick to our values, stick to our principles. But this is definitely the way we want to go. I just want to say after this season that we have done the best out of all our opportunities.
"I can’t tell you what league position that is. I just want to have this feeling as a group of players, and staff, we have done our best and delivered our best performance level. It is my task to have more good than bad decisions.”
Supporters are advised to buy tickets online before Tuesday's match, which will allow them to acquire a QR code for mobile devices to use for entry at turnstiles.
The Carrow Road ticket office will be open from 9am for tickets to be purchased in-person, however, that is likely to lead to queues if fans leave purchasing their ticket until the final hours before the match.
Tickets have been priced at £10 for adults, £5 for over-65s and under-21s, and £1 for under-18s but free for all U18 season ticket holders and members. Head to canaries.co.uk for full details.
City have not issued any Covid-19 rules in regards to testing before access is allowed, on this occasion, as the club awaits Premier League decisions on access for those who are vaccinated or who can show a negative test result.