With the Football League kick-off this weekend, this series of articles takes a closer look at the 24 teams vying for the £100 million Premier League bonanza.
Norwich’s downfall last season was that they couldn’t score goals. Gary Hooper and Ricky van Wolfswinkel were expensive flops in the Premier League, despite no shortage of opportunities coming their way.
Despite failing to avoid relegation, Norwich have retained Neil Adams as manager and his main business this summer has been to boost his attacking unit, shelling out a reported £3 million for Bournemouth’s Lewis Grabban and bringing in ex-Rangers forward Kyle Lafferty.
Robert Snodgrass’s departure means there is a big loss in creativity, especially as Snodgrass is a player who would cause problems for every Championship defence. There may also be other departures such as Leroy Fer, but on paper Norwich should be genuine promotion contenders.
The mystery surrounds manager Adams. His time in charge at the back end of last season was too limited, but the Championship will provide a thorough examination of his ability.
Cheered on by their ever-loyal support and backed from the boardroom as all Norwich managers are, Adams will not find goodwill in short supply and the firepower at his disposal should mean Norwich are a good bet for promotion and should be targeting a play-off place at the bare minimum.
Last Season: N/A (relegated from Premier League)
Manager: Neil Adams
Transfers In*: Lewis Grabban (Bournemouth, undisclosed), Kyle Lafferty (Palermo, undisclosed), Gary O’Neill (QPR, free)
Transfers Out*: Robert Snodgrass (Hull, undisclosed), Carlton Morris (Oxford, loan), Ricky van Wolfswinkel (St. Etienne, loan) David Fox, Carlo Nash (released)
One To Watch: Lewis Grabban (striker)
Goals were Norwich’s problem last season and Adams was happy to pay £3 million for the services of Grabban from Bournemouth. The 26-year-old scored 22 goals last season and a similar return this time around would go someway to recouping that fee.
If Norwich continue where they left off, there will be an abundance of opportunities for Grabban and it remains to be seen whether Adams chooses to play him as a lone attacker or looks to build a partnership with Hooper, who himself could do with a few goals after failing to justify the £5 million paid for him last summer.
But Grabban will be the main man at Carrow Road and he will worth keeping an eye on: is he a one-season wonder or he can find the consistency to become an accomplished goalscorer in the second tier?
Selected Odds: Champions 11-1; Promotion 10-3; Relegation 40-1
Opening Fixtures: Wolves (A), Watford (H), Blackburn (H)
*correct at the time of writing