Norwich City ready for the big kick-off
Norwich City will have to overcome an opening day hoodoo if they are to make a winning start to their Premier League season at Wigan Athletic tomorrow.
The Canaries have not won their opening fixture since 2002 when they beat Grimsby 4-0 at Carrow Road, the only time they have taken three points in the last 12 seasons on the first day of a campaign.
Of course, manager Paul Lambert was responsible for City’s worst result on the opening day of any season when he brought Colchester to Carrow Road and won 7-1.
That brought about a chain of events that saw the 42-year-old replace Bryan Gunn as boss and the club hasn’t looked back since with two successive promotions.
However, even Lambert himself couldn’t prevent City losing against Watford last season in front of the television cameras in their opening match. Wigan of course have their own opening day scar from the last campaign when newly-promoted Blackpool went to the DW Stadium and set the tone for the start of their season with a 4-0 victory.
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That win does also serve as a reminder as to the folly of reading too much into the results on the opening day with Ian Holloway’s men eventually succumbing to relegation on the final day of the season.
City’s poor opening day record has not put the club’s travelling supporters off from making their way up to the north-west this weekend.
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Norwich have taken up all of the 4,500 allocation of tickets they were given with 17 Club Canary coaches making the journey.
They will be hoping to see Lambert’s men make a dream start to the season but City will have to do so without long-term absentees James Vaughan and Elliott Ward with the pair sustaining knee injuries over the summer.
Lambert said after the pre-season win against Parma that he would also be monitoring Russell Martin and Andrew Crofts closely in the week leading up to the match to see if they can play any part.
Crofts was forced to pull out of the Wales squad for their friendly against Australia but Lambert was hopeful the former Brighton man could shrug off the ankle problem he sustained during Norwich’s pre-season victory at Coventry City. Martin aggravated a calf injury during the warm-up against Parma and if the Scotland international doesn’t make it, City have a ready made alternative in the form of Kyle Naughton.
• Norwich City’s opening day hoodoo
1999-2000: West Bromwich Albion 1, Norwich 1
2000-01: Barnsley 1, Norwich 0
2001-02: Millwall 4, Norwich 0
2002-03: Norwich 4, Grimsby 0
2003-04: Bradford City 2, Norwich 2
2004-05: Norwich 1, Crystal Palace 1
2005-06: Norwich 1, Coventry 1
2006-07: Leeds 1, Norwich 0
2007-08: Preston 0, Norwich 0
2008-09: Coventry 2, Norwich 0
2009-10: Norwich 1, Colchester 7
2010-11: Norwich 2, Watford 3