Lambert is man to lead promotion charge, says Dion
Michael Bailey Dion Dublin has warned his old team that 'doing a Leicester' next season is easier said than done - but they have the right man in charge to make it a possibility.
Dion Dublin has warned his old team that 'doing a Leicester' next season is easier said than done - but they have the right man in charge to make it a possibility.
The Foxes' historic drop out of English football's top two tiers in 2008 was followed by the League One title 12 months ago, before a push into this season's Championship play-offs.
And with the Canaries tracing a similar journey, fans will be hoping Norwich's Championship return next season will be just as successful.
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However Dublin, who spent two seasons at Carrow Road, said: “We all know how hard the Championship is.
“Even just experiencing League One, which is hard enough anyway. But the Championship is an incredibly hard league to win games in, nevermind get promoted.
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“Having played in it for a few years, for Norwich to do what Leicester have done or any other club that has done it, it's going to be a hell of a feat.
“But if there is a manager who knows how to do it and will take the right steps to do it, it's Mr Lambert.
“There is a difference in quality. The Premier League is the best league in the world, I think anyway, bar none. Then you come down to the Championship, difficult league, more physical, maybe a little bit faster.
“If the manager is as serious as he was this season about next season, I think he'll be bringing more players in, doing things just as stringent as he has this year. He wants success, he doesn't want to stop at the League One championship.
“That's not enough for him and it won't be enough for the players either. They'll want to kick on from there, if I know some of them that are still there, they'll be determined to get back to the big time.”
Dublin admitted former team-mates Gary Doherty and Darel Russell - both out of contract at Carrow Road this summer - will “make their own decisions” on whether they stay at City.
But despite this season's success, Dublin feels Lambert will have to make several changes to his squad if it is to compete at the top end of the Championship.
He said: “If you're going to strengthen you need to do it all over the park. They've scored a lot of goals this year, so why not get more?
“I'm sure Paul Lambert will bring in one of each department, and he'll find the weakest position and double up there.
“He knows what needs doing, he'll know who to buy. He'll have looked at those players already.”
The former Norwich, Aston Villa and Manchester United striker departed City in 2008; the following season saw the Canaries relegated from the Championship in a manner that threatened to tear the club apart.
Since then a boardroom shake up and change in management has brought about something of a renaissance at City.
Dublin is glad Norwich are back - but expects everyone at Carrow Road to realise the Canaries are still playing catch up.
“In a way it's made up for last year - it's always nice to achieve something,” said Dublin. “It's just that the achievement should be expected by everybody, including the players, fans, staff. With all due respect they are too big a club - and the manager is too good, the staff are too good - to be stuck in a division where they shouldn't be really.
“It's step one out of the way, but the club still isn't where it should be. It should be in the Premier League by a long stretch, so there's still another step to go and I'm sure that is the way the manager wants to go too.
“I don't think he's happy with Championship football. He wants to be in the Premier League. That's why they succeeded this year, because the manager is so determined and so one track minded - he wants to go to the top.”
Not that winning League One is such commanding fashion is not worth celebrating in the city centre tomorrow.
“You can only beat and only win what you're in, and they've done that this year, so damn right they should celebrate,” he added.
“Hard work gets rewarded and they've worked hard this year. They deserve to celebrate.”
Dublin has been backed to face the Canaries in the dugout next season, with his former club Coventry after Chris Coleman was sacked earlier this month.
But remaining coy, Dublin said: “Who knows? That's an open door. Apparently I'm second favourite!
“I would always consider a manager's job, I'd always look at it and listen to the people, see what they've got say, and if we matched up in the way we were thinking and the way I wanted to go and they wanted to go then of course I would consider it. I would be silly not to.”
He confirmed that, as yet, there had been no contact between him and the Sky Blues