Jackson delighted for former club
Former Norwich City skipper Matt Jackson insists the Canaries are good enough to stay up – but has no divided loyalties ahead of Saturday’s Premier League opener at Wigan.
Jackson is now an Operations Manager with the Latics alongside his media commitments which will see him working for BBC Radio Norfolk this weekend.
The retired defender helped lead Wigan into the Premier League in 2005 after previously making 172 appearances during a five year stint at Carrow Road.
Jackson believes Paul Lambert’s side will carry an element of surprise following their rapid ascent through the Football League.
He said: “It is certainly a game both clubs can look forward to. Norwich is still a place I have a lot of affection for – I have a lot of good friends still in the area and I am so pleased for Delia and Michael because they deserve it as well. If Norwich can maintain that momentum then anything is possible.
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“People outside the Premier League don’t realise, but the step up isn’t that great as many think and you can catch a lot of clubs by surprise and pick up points that perhaps you wouldn’t expect to get early on. They have played good football for the past two seasons and they just have to stick to those principles.”
Jackson cautions the hosts will aim to go all out to avoid a repeat of last season’s curtain raiser when they were hammered 4-0 at home by newly-promoted Blackpool.
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He said: “I think the manager will be using that memory at some point during the build up to this game, that is for sure.
“In an ideal world, Norwich would like to have been at home in the first game. Having said that, if you had to be away I think Wigan would have probably have been in your top five because they are not going to be intimidated. Likewise, Wigan would say the same. The one thing I would say is that this league is so relentless. You play less games than the Championship, but it is so mentally draining because of the level of the opposition.
“It will really test the 25 man squad and everyone will have to play a part because you can’t just rely on the same players.”
Jackson led Wigan into the Premier League the same summer Norwich were relegated from the top flight before helping the Latics to a credible top ten finish.
He said: “It’s really getting that belief that you belong and not having to wait too long for that first win to get that, otherwise confidence can take a hit. In this league you will go a run of games when you don’t pick up any points.
“We played the top six one after the other the first season we went up, didn’t get any points, and then played three sides around us and got points from them.
“It’s a totally different mindset from a club who perhaps have been used to winning and used to being at the top of the table.
“I believe there are probably a dozen clubs who will all start the season with the same priority of wanting to just stay in the league. Whilst you are trying to compete against the big boys, ultimately you are trying to finish ahead of the teams you expect to be around you. It is so important to stay in the division that first season and then you can build again”