Doherty has high hopes for the season

Jonathan Redhead Gary Doherty is convinced Norwich City will avoid a relegation hangover this season after a 'fantastic' pre-season campaign. City's League One fixtures kick-off against Colchester United at Carrow Road on Saturday, and the Canaries skipper hopes an unbeaten run of seven games, including a 3-2 victory against Premier League outfit Wigan Athletic will help the side get off to a flyer when action gets under way.

Jonathan Redhead

Gary Doherty is convinced Norwich City will avoid a relegation hangover this season after a 'fantastic' pre-season campaign.

City's League One fixtures kick-off against Colchester United at Carrow Road on Saturday, and the Canaries skipper hopes an unbeaten run of seven games, including a 3-2 victory against Premier League outfit Wigan Athletic will help the side get off to a flyer when action gets under way.

Doherty has witnessed the arrival of 12 new signings during the summer, with several leaving through the exit door and believes the new intake of players have helped wipe away the anguish of relegation.


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"The influx of new players has helped," he said.

"There's someone like Gilly (Matt Gill) who's had a successful season with Exeter, so there are winners in the team.

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"It's a proper Norwich City team and everyone's got to give their all for Norwich City and I think that's going to bode well for us. Pre-season has gone fantastic. We've got everyone's hopes up and the optimism is good.

"That's the good thing about pre-season, we've put to bed the terrible season we had last year and got a few good results against a few good teams and everyone's pretty optimistic going into the new season."

"Obviously last year was difficult because we weren't getting players in until late so it was hard to bed them in.

"We've pretty much had the squad here for a couple of weeks at least and we've had the trip away as well and we've all bonded so the atmosphere is good.

"There's only five or six players from last year that would have had the hangover from relegation. Everyone else is fresh and everyone else is wanting to do well for Norwich and that's a great thing."

Many of City's faithful fans were unhappy with the number of loan players used by the club last season, and Doherty concedes the situation did have a negative impact on the campaign.

But the 29-year-old also said the unsettled nature of the back line through injury and loss of form was another major reason for the relegation catastrophe.

"We got some players, probably players that as a club we couldn't afford, so the loan system worked well there," Doherty said of last year.

"But I think it was just the amount that was the biggest problem. When you're looking at 15 or 16 loan players coming in in one season it's just far too many and I honestly think our squad's just as strong now this year.

"I don't want to get everyone's hopes up as it's only pre-season but I've got a really good feeling about this season."

"Me and Nelse (Michael Nelson) did particularly well at Crystal Palace and I'm guessing that's what we're going to go with although the gaffer hasn't mentioned a team and I guess he probably won't until Friday.

"Me and (Michael) Spillane did well at the weekend so I've had a few partners.

"I put that down to our disaster last season to be honest - centre-halves getting injuries.

"I think if anywhere in your team you want to keep players fit it's the centre-halves. You want them to play pretty much constant, that goes for the whole back four actually.

"We need to keep everyone fit and I'm sure if we can we've got a great chance."

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