Norwich City ‘won’t be worried by Premier League doubters’

Norwich City will be out to defy public opinion once again when they kick off the new Premier League campaign – after six out of 10 fans backed Queens Park Rangers to finish highest of the promoted teams.

More than 30,000 supporters taking part in a national online vote think the London club will fare better than their fellow promotion winners, the Canaries and Swansea City.

The poll, on the official Barclays Premier League website, shows more than 61 per cent of fans expect Rangers to finish highest of the three newcomers, with nearly 20 per cent backing City and just under 19 per cent going for the Swans, winners of the play-off final.

But that is unlikely to perturb manager Paul Lambert and his players, who were given less chance of Championship success this time last year than ultimate under-achievers such as Cardiff, Leicester and Middlesbrough.

Evening News columnist and former City winger Neil Adams believes the men from Carrow Road can benefit from others’ low expectations.

“I’ve seen some of the bookmakers’ odds and they make Norwich among the favourites for relegation, but are more favourable towards Queens Park Rangers,” he said. “I think Paul Lambert and the Norwich players will use that to their advantage. If people want to write them off, they’ve proved them wrong before and that will suit them.

“If you look at the last couple of years, they weren’t installed as favourites to win League One and they weren’t among the favourites to win promotion. Let everybody else do the talking and they might be in for a surprise next season.”

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Adams feels sure City will hold their own in the top flight.

“We all know how hard the Premier League is but I am pretty confident, hand on heart,” he said. “I genuinely think Norwich will be OK and will stay in the division. I don’t think anyone associated with the club will be too concerned about people writing them off.

“And I think Swansea will probably have a better opportunity than QPR. They’re a good footballing side and that will be suited to the Premier League and they’re very strong at home.

“No disrespect to QPR, who played very well last season and deserved to win the Championship, but they are quite a direct side and may find it more difficult against Premier League defences. That approach can work but it’s OK if you are Stoke and nearly everyone is over six feet tall and quite physical.”

Lifelong fan Judy Trivett applauded City’s brisk activity in the transfer market.

“I like the idea of getting players in early and the policy of going for top Championship players rather than the same old names from the Premier League,” she said.

“We went into the Championship with quite a few players with no experience of the division, so who says we can’t do it again?

“I read one quote about Norwich having an ‘ageing squad’. Excuse me, but it’s Queens Park Rangers who have the ageing squad.

“The truth is nobody knows for sure how we will do. With Norwich you have no idea but I think there is still this perception that we are little old Norwich and will just roll over, but they might well find out differently.”

Season ticket-holder Neville Townsend feels Lambert is the key to success – more than Rangers’ apparent millions.

He said: “QPR have got the money, but we’ve got the manager. That speaks volumes for our chances and I think we will finish above the other two.

“It’s the manager, the way he manages the team, the way he spends the money and gets value for money – the signings he has made and the signings he will make.

“I am confident we won’t be in the bottom group.”