City playmaker Wes Hoolahan has admitted that the League One champions will be aiming to “hit the ground running” next season, as thoughts already start to turn to life in the Championship.
Norwich signed off with a home defeat to Carlisle at the weekend and the visitors thoroughly deserved the three points after early goals from the impressive Gary Madine and Jason Price.
The Canaries, and they wouldn’t mind me saying this, had that end-of-season vibe about them. United, however, looked sharp and were well worth their win.
But you can’t really fault the City players for having their minds elsewhere, and it promises to be an exciting 2010/11, as the Carrow Road club look to challenge at the top end of the second tier.
“We want to hit the ground running and have a good start. The team have won a lot of games this year and hopefully we can continue that next year. If we get off to a good start, who knows.
“There is a big challenge ahead and we know what we want to do in that league. A few of us have played in the Championship and we obviously want to do well. My first year with Norwich wasn’t great so hopefully this can now be the start of something nice.
“But in the Championship, if you make a mistake they will punish you. There is more quality and in League One, you get more chances.
“We’ve got quality players here but we’re going up a league and we’ll need to add a few more experienced players. But it’s important we keep the bulk of this squad together as well as you get to know them and it’s great when you get to play with the same players week in, week out.”
Hoolahan has been deployed, with great success, in a more forward role this season, causing plenty of havoc just behind the front pairing of Grant Holt and Chris Martin.
And it is a position that he hopes can be just as effective at a higher level, especially if he is given more freedom to roam.
“I think I’ll probably get a bit more space next season, League One is very ‘in your face’ but I think you get more time on the ball in the Championship.
“I’ve played in the next league with Blackpool and Norwich and I’m comfortable at that level, hopefully I can do the same playing in my new role.”
Despite the 2-0 reverse on Saturday, the Irishman was delighted to be a big part of such wonderful scenes at the end, when the League One trophy was lifted by injured skipper Holt.
It’s not every day that you get to raise a trophy and celebrate it with your home supporters. And Hoolahan was determined to enjoy every minute of it.
“It feels amazing and scenes were great. The result didn’t help but it doesn’t matter, we won it,” added the former Blackpool man.
“Our start to the season wasn’t great but to win the league by nine points is a great achievement and all the boys have enjoyed themselves.
“We’ve played really well and we’ve got a great togetherness in the team. The squad is good and we’ve got some really good players.”
The 14-goal Dubliner was making his first appearance for over a month and he was pleased to get some game-time before the summer; you’ll also be glad to know that there were no ill effects after Hoolahan’s return, in which he completed the full 90 minutes.
“The injury is fine. It was good to have a run out but I was tired in the last twenty minutes – I was hoping the manager would take me off as I was knackered!
“But even though the result wasn’t great, I tried to get myself back to play a part in the last game and I managed to do that.”