Sutton issues Norwich City warning

Michael Bailey SLIDESHOW: Lincoln City manager Chris Sutton believes Norwich City fans should keep their expectations in check ahead of their Championship return. The Canaries' runaway success in League One last season, followed by a successful summer of player recruiting and Saturday's friendly victory over Premier League new boys Newcastle United have all added to the growing optimism over City's chances next season.

Michael Bailey

Lincoln City manager Chris Sutton believes Norwich City fans should keep their expectations in check ahead of their Championship return.

The Canaries' runaway success in League One last season, followed by a successful summer of player recruiting and Saturday's friendly victory over Premier League new boys Newcastle United have all added to the growing optimism over City's chances next season.

Sutton's side held the Canaries to a goalless draw at Sincil Bank - Norwich's third successive pre-season blank away from home - and the former City striker made his best efforts before and after yesterday's friendly to make his point to the fans he used to love playing in front of during his Carrow Road heyday.


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The Imps boss, inset, also acknowledged his enjoyment in locking managerial horns with a former Celtic team-mate and now Norwich boss Paul Lambert.

“I like Paul, I spent a number of years playing with Paul and he did an unbelievable job last season at Norwich,” said Sutton.

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“We've got a long way to go until we've got a team which can match up to theirs, but it's nice to see Paul and I still live in Norfolk. So I follow Norwich closely and I was really pleased they did well last season.

“Speaking to Paul as well, I think expectations are a big thing. But in terms of pressure and what have you, I think consolidation is important next season and not setting their sights too high.

“They're capable of doing well, of course, but in terms of getting automatic promotion and getting into the play-offs, I think it will be difficult. And bearing in mind what has happened the last couple of seasons at Norwich, I think Paul has done a fantastic job and making sure they're nice and safe next season in the Championship would mean he's carried on that job.

“I know what the fans want and everyone wants the same thing for Norwich, but there has to be a bit of realism. It's hard to go from League One to the Premier League, jumping, jumping, and then being able to stay in it.”

Last night Norwich started with what could be considered a reserve side, adding summer signings and likely starters for their Championship opener as the second half wore on, while Stephen Hughes made his pre-season comeback after an ankle injury.

The evening was also worthwhile for Sutton, whose Lincoln side suffered a 4-1 home friendly defeat to Celtic on Saturday, but are hoping to make a better fist of League Two next season after successfully avoiding relegation last term.

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