A Derby-Norwich City double tops Bradley Johnson's wishes for next season's Championship
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Bradley Johnson admits time has flown since his Norwich City exit - and he has the ideal combination in mind for next season.
The Canaries’ 2015 player of the season left that summer to join Derby, missing out on trying to keep City in the Premier League following promotion.
Since then City have been relegated and failed to gain a swift return, while the Rams search for a first top-flight return since 2008.
“It’s flown by,” said Johnson. “Honestly, I’m never going to forget my memories from Norwich and I still feel a part of it. I’ve been to Ryan Bennett’s wedding, still talk to a lot of the lads, I’ve been back to Norwich this summer because I’ve still got friends there and keep in contact with a lot of people.
“I’ve still got a house there – and my little brother Louie still plays for the Under-15s.
“Our gaffer (Gary Rowett) came in towards the end of last season, so this will be his first go at it. It’s the same with Norwich. They’ve got a new manager now and a lot of players have left already. Things change in football, lads move on and new ones come in. But Norwich and Derby are both big clubs and we’ve got to be fighting for promotion next season.
“Each year the Championship gets harder. It’s the hardest league I’ve played in and I know many of the lads who have played in the Premier League with Norwich and the Championship, would say the same. It’s the hardest to get out of and the quality is getting better each year.
“You’ve got to be at it every single game. You can’t have a day off – whereas in the Premier League, you know at the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Man City that you’re not expected to win. If you do it’s a bonus and if you lose, then you’ve got to look to your next game and hopefully you get one against those in and around you that you’ve got to win.
“But in this league, you can’t take your foot off the pedal for one second. It’s demanding as well…and that makes it very hard to keep that performance level up.
“It will be a good season. There are going to be a lot of clubs fighting for it. But ideally we want to get promoted, and it’d be nice for Norwich to go up as well.
“I’m always looking out for them and wanting them to do well, because I’ve still got that attachment there to the club. So next year my ideal thing will be Derby first and Norwich second.”