A-Z: Norwich City in good Kompany for the Championship fightback
- Credit: Empics Sports Photography Ltd.
As we continue our A-Z Championship series, Mark Armstrong, takes a look at the challenges that await Norwich in the form of Bristol City, Burnley and Cardiff.
Many felt the Bristol City boss under-achieved with the Robins last season. The hierarchy expected a top half finish given their wage bill in the Championship and there is a sense Pearson needs to improve in the next campaign.
Not great. A mild flourish towards the end of the season only garnered a 17th-placed finish on 55 points.
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Last time v NCFC
Norwich City 2 Bristol City 0
Hugill 36, 76
Bristol City 1 Norwich City 3
Hunt 15; Pukki 6, 15, Buendia 45
Antoine Semenyo – The 22-year-old had a decent season with the Robins although it has attracted the attention of other clubs. Celtic have reportedly recently failed with a recent £9m bid and Pearson is very keen to hold on to the forward, who has a year left on his contract but with the option of another 12 months. Smart money is on Semenyo still being with City next season as Celtic unlikely to part with the £15m fee that could tempt the club into cashing in.
Timm Klose (remember him...) has signed a new one-year contract at Ashton Gate with the option of an extra 12 months. Klose thought about calling it a day this summer but Pearson made it clear he wanted the Swiss defender to stay as the 34-year-old started every league game after signing in January initially on a six-month contract. Klose earned plaudits for a string of fine performances and is seen as a player who can help the next generation of Robins defenders come through.
Play-offs have been mentioned amongst the most optimistic of supporters. Realists won’t be able to see beyond a mid-table finish.
Vincent Kompany – had been rumoured to be Burnley’s number one target when they parted with Sean Dyche towards the end of the season. It had been anticipated he might give the Clarets a swerve after their relegation but the Belgian is “up for a challenge”. He’ll get it.
Relegated on the final day of the season as they lost 2-1 at home to Newcastle whilst Leeds, who started the day in the relegation places, beat Brentford to climb out the bottom three.
Last time v NCFC
Norwich 2 Burnley 0
Lees-Melou 9, Pukki 86
Burnley 0 Norwich 0
Anyone’s guess at the moment as there are no guarantees they will be there come the start of the season. Of the current crop you would have to say England international Nick Pope... but don’t be surprised if he isn’t at Turf Moor by the time City play them.
The need to pay back a significant proportion of a £65m loan due to relegation is a real concern for Burnley fans. The loan was taken out as part of ALK Capital’s takeover in December 2020 – expect some big departures from Turf Moor this summer to offset this.
In Kompany, Burnley have appointed someone with a great standing in the game as a player. If he can use his contacts to get some players in on loan then they could challenge for play-offs but much depends on departures.
The former Norwich City striker knows he needs to improve on last season and is ringing the changes at the Welsh club.
An 18th-placed finish – not what the Cardiff fans have got used to but there’s some excitement around the signings that have been made so far this summer to temper that discontent.
Last time v NCFC
Cardiff 1 Norwich 2
Ralls 65; Hanley 3, Cantwell 22
Rubin Colwill – 20, attacking midfielder, five goals last season – a very decent player with a good future in the game.
After helping Wales qualify for the World Cup at the end of the year, Gareth Bale needs to find himself a club following his Real Madrid exit. Cardiff are reportedly keen to offer him a deal that a move back to his hometown for one last hurrah and maintain his fitness might just appeal to the 32-year-old.
There’s been quite the churn of players already this summer with Morison adding six new faces to his squad, including former Norwich midfielder (and TGI Fridays waiter) Ebou Adams. Hopes will be high they can serve up an improvement on last season’s 18th placed finish.