Norwich old boy fires Carling Cup warning
Paddy Davitt Former Norwich City stalwart Simon Charlton has warned the Canaries they stand in the way of old boss Sam Allardyce's Wembley dream ahead of next week's Carling Cup tie at Ewood Park.
Former Norwich City stalwart Simon Charlton has warned the Canaries they stand in the way of old boss Sam Allardyce's Wembley dream ahead of next week's Carling Cup tie at Ewood Park.
Charlton was a key part of Allardyce's Bolton side that lost the 2004 League Cup final to Middlesbrough and believes the Rovers' chief is desperate to re-write history by knocking out Paul Lambert's men.
He said: “It is a no pressure game for Norwich but in saying that they will want to go and prove they can perform at that level and show they can handle being on a big stage. We missed out at the final hurdle in the Carling Cup and that was a massive disappointment and I'm sure he would like to go one better and have that on his CV, if you like, and it's also a quick route into Europe. You only have to win something like six or seven games. I'm pretty certain he will make changes from the lads who feature at the weekend - maybe even something like seven or eight - but those lads coming into the side will want to prove they deserve an opportunity. It will be a tough game and Norwich will have to deal with the way Sam likes his teams to play which is high tempo and getting balls forward early.”
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Charlton made 45 Carrow Road appearances after leaving the Reebok back in 2004 but the former defender admits his ex-Trotters' boss was a major influence on his career.
He said: “I still think what he did at Bolton has left a massive legacy to this day. I saw Phil Brown interviewed at the weekend saying what a hard act he has been to follow and that is proof of what he achieved in his time there. Every manager who has gone in since has struggled. Owen Coyle is there now and maybe if he stays around for the next five or six years he will prove what he can do.
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“Sam was actually a pioneer and probably the first manager in this country who really embraced the sports science side of the game. He might have come up through the old school when he was a player himself, but he is a very intelligent man who is always open to new ideas - even if it means he can improve his players by a fraction of a percent.”
Charlton is also backing Lambert to build on last season's League One title success after a maiden Championship win at Scunthorpe prior to today's latest Carrow Road test against Swansea.
He said: “That was a big win, just to get up and running and a massive relief for everyone. It's going to be a tough season because, of all the leagues, for a neutral I think the Championship is the most competitive. You can go down the list and maybe 12 clubs think they could compete for promotion automatically and maybe 15 for the play-offs if you can get on a roll.
“A mid-table finish would for me be an excellent first season and a base to maybe spend some more money next summer and just keep building. Norwich have come up and they want to play football and pass it. Paul hasn't gone out and bought any superstars but he has a squad of good players.”
Norfolk-based Charlton is looking to get back into the management game himself after guiding Ridgeons Premier Division Mildenhall to the club's most successful season in recent years.
“I enjoyed my time and I was proud to be involved in their best season for 15 years,” he said. “I decided to move on for a couple of reasons in the summer but I am waiting for the opportunity to get back in. I have all the coaching qualifications and whether it's as a manager or a coach hopefully there is a chairman willing to give me a chance. I'm based in Norfolk now but if there is another opportunity in the country then that is something I would obviously consider.”