Eadie backs Norwich City to prosper
Paddy Davitt Norwich City old boy Darren Eadie is confident the Canaries can emulate his former club Leicester's Championship success story next season. City need a point against Gillingham this weekend to succeed the Foxes as League One champions with Nigel Pearson's side now closing in on the Championship play-offs after an impressive return to the second tier.
Norwich City old boy Darren Eadie is confident the Canaries can emulate his former club Leicester's Championship success story next season.
City need a point against Gillingham this weekend to succeed the Foxes as League One champions with Nigel Pearson's side now closing in on the Championship play-offs after an impressive return to the second tier.
Eadie was Leicester's record signing when he moved from Carrow Road to the East Midlands for �3m in 1999 and believes the Canaries have the same potential to emulate Leicester's upward curve.
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“I think it can go two ways because there wasn't much between Leicester and Peterborough when they came up this year but they've gone in opposite directions,” he said. “Leicester have surprised me but they have a big support like Norwich and maybe the difference is Leicester had players who knew what it was like at that level before so they were capable making the step back up.
“Norwich also have at least six or seven players in the team capable of playing at that level. Gary Doherty has been in the Premiership and you look at the likes of Wes (Hoolahan) who is an excellent player and really seems to have found a role that suits him in the side. They've also got other lads who have proved themselves when maybe they weren't in the manager's plans - the likes of Darel Russell and Chris Martin who had been out on loan at Luton.”
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Eadie feels City boss Paul Lambert faces a tricky balancing act in his attempts to bolster the squad during the close season.
“It's a difficult one because you can see they have that bond and togetherness,” he said. “Team spirit is hard to build but once you've got it you want to make sure you don't bring in a load of new players that could disrupt it.
“If you have players coming in to take other lads' positions it's a tough balance to strike. You look at when Norwich went into the Premiership they had to go out and bring in a lot of players and it can be difficult.
“The manager will have his ideas about who is capable of making the step up. I'm not sure that the current squad could challenge at the top end of the league but they're more than capable of holding their own.
“If they do want to do that, then they would have to bring in a player or two but he will have his eye on players already.”
Eadie also expects no slacking over the final weeks of the season should City clinch the title this weekend.
“Lads will still have things to play for and to show they want to be part of his plans next year,” said Eadie. “I can't see him allowing any complacency to set it.
“I remember Martin O'Neill one year at Leicester when we had qualified for Europe through winning the League Cup and he still wanted us to go on and finish sixth in the league and qualify through that route as well. And we did.
“Before Christmas, if I'm honest, I couldn't see us pulling Leeds back when they were 11 or 12 points clear so to have that turnaround is phenomenal.
“All credit to the players and management to do it with three games to spare.
“It's great now that they won't have to go to the last game of the season like it has done for all the wrong reasons in the past few years. They can relax and enjoy it.”