Lappin: We'll show no fear
Michael Bailey They may be starting from scratch in less than four weeks, but Simon Lappin feels the momentum will be with Norwich City. Winning became a habit as the Canaries demolished League One last season, earning them an instant return to the Championship that will start on August 6, with the visit of Watford to Carrow Road in front of the Sky cameras.
They may be starting from scratch in less than four weeks, but Simon Lappin feels the momentum will be with Norwich City.
Winning became a habit as the Canaries demolished League One last season, earning them an instant return to the Championship that will start on August 6, with the visit of Watford to Carrow Road in front of the Sky cameras.
The Scot is confident City have nothing to fear as they embark on a schedule clearly tougher than a tour around English football's third tier - but one they will start with an early advantage following the high of taking the League One honours with nine points to spare.
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“We have that momentum, definitely, because you're going into it with confidence and obviously, like last season, you give every team you come up against the respect they deserve - but you don't go into it with any fear or trepidation at all,” said Lappin. “You look forward to it and it's a new challenge.
“We've come off the season past on a high and confidence was high, and that comes from winning. So hopefully we can carry that on this year.
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“No disrespect to other teams but it is going to be a lot more difficult than last season...we need to be, again, on top of our game every game, and that starts with Watford.”
However Lappin, City's leading appearance maker last season, knows the prospect of having such momentum going into their Championship fixtures will not prevent him and his team-mates having to prove themselves all over again once the 2010-11 campaign gets underway.
“It goes without saying, you go away and it's been a great year, everything is rosy,” said Lappin. “But last year has gone now and during the summer you're more thinking about the season ahead.
“You can't live on past glories or what you've done. You've got to go again the next year and I think the big thing is you've got to earn the right to get into the side again, because what you've done the year before, it doesn't matter.
“It's a new season, it's a tougher league and we'll be against better players, so you need to be mentally and physically prepared for that.”
City's first team squad are currently in Germany for a behind closed doors training camp, with a mix of youngsters and fringe players turning out for the Canaries tonight (7.45pm) as they mark King's Lynn Town's first run-out at a revamped Walks.
It promises to be a tough week on the Continent - but Lappin believes a good grounding over the summer should see him and his team-mates through.
“I think most of the boys are conscientious about it anyway and would keep themselves in trim, because you can't come back in at pre-season to get fit; those days are gone,” said Lappin.
“There were tough days here and there during the break, but you've got to give yourself the best chance coming back in because it's going to be a lot tougher next season.”
But rather than weeks of fitness work coming before the players get even the faintest sight of an actual football, City boss Paul Lambert has got his squad using their feet from their first day back.
“I think the manager is big on that, that it's all going to be with the ball - it's not just going to be a long slog for half an hour running for miles and miles,” added the 27-year-old.
“I think he buys into the fact that maybe with the ball, it's all game related and getting your sharpness and your touch and feel for the ball.
“When I started as a kid, I remember you didn't see a ball for the first two weeks. It was just round a running track and then up sand dunes and things - shows you how much things have changed in the past 11 years.
“Obviously with the ball, it makes it a bit easier mentally but physically it's still quite demanding.”