Football

Canaries coach in confident mood

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Manager Paul Lambert is confident his Norwich side are ready as the Canaries begin their npower Championship campaign against Watford at Carrow Road on Friday evening.

Norwich won the League One title last term to earn automatic promotion to the Football League's top tier, but Lambert has few fears about making the step up and facing Watford.

"I'm pretty sure (the step up to the Championship) is going to be big," Lambert told Sky Sports News. "It's new to myself and some of the players but we have earned the right to play up there."

He added: "I know it's going to be difficult, Watford are an established Championship side and Malky (Mackay) has done well there, but we're at home and hopefully with the crowd's backing we'll win it."

Two of the three teams relegated from the Premier League last term play at home on the opening Saturday of the Football League season. Burnley entertain Nottingham Forest, who begin their bid for promotion to the top flight boosted by a number of summer signings, including Dean Marney from Hull.

The Tigers host Swansea at the KC Stadium, while Portsmouth - having secured their future at the High Court on Thursday - travel to Coventry as two new club managers go head-to-head. Aidy Boothroyd leads the Sky Blues against Steve Cotterill's Pompey.

Two other new bosses will meet at Selhurst Park. George Burley of Crystal Palace takes on Leicester's Paulo Sousa.

One player hoping to make his debut on Saturday is England goalkeeper David James. James' new club Bristol City entertain Millwall, who make a return to the Championship after a four-season absence at Ashton Gate.

Roy Keane's Ipswich travel to Gordon Strachan's Middlesbrough, while Preston host Doncaster. Barnsley travel to QPR and Reading host Scunthorpe, while newly-promoted Leeds will host Derby in the evening game at Elland Road.

Sunday's fixture sees Cardiff, last season's beaten play-off finalists, meet Sheffield United.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Leicester City
Norwich City
Doncaster Rovers
Portsmouth
Ipswich Town
Reading
David James
Watford
Bristol City
Football
Millwall
Scunthorpe United
Championship
League One
Premier League
Cardiff City
Gordon Strachan
Preston North End
Derby County
Nottingham Forest
Roy Keane
Queens Park Rangers
Barnsley
Sheffield United
Crystal Palace
Middlesbrough
Dean Marney
Hull City
Leeds United
Coventry City
Swansea City
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