City boss Paul Lambert will have some familiar faces around come August, after the Football League computer decided that Watford, Scunthorpe, Swansea and Notts Forest would greet the Canaries on their return to the Championship.
First up it’s Malky Mackay’s Hornets at home for the League One champions on August 7, and it is a big boost to be on terra firma for the opening day of the season.
With the Vicarage Road outfit only just avoiding the drop last time around, Canary supporters will be confident of a first day victory.
A trip to Glanford Park is next, before Lambert and Co welcome Paulo Sousa’s Swans outift to Carrow Road. The month ends with a tricky looking contest at the City Ground, however, with Billy Davies’ Reds one of the favourites for automatic promotion.
But as Norwich chief Lambert revealed, he will be coming face to face with some old pals from his playing days come August time.
“It’s a funny thing but I played with Billy at Motherwell, Paulo at Borussia Dortmund and Malky at Celtic so I’ve got three games out of the first four up against guys I played with, so that will be great,” he told the club’s official website this morning.
“But to get a home game at Carrow Road for the first game is great, after being drawn at home in the Carling Cup yesterday as well.
“Watford will be tough and with Malky coming back there will be a wee bit about it as well, so I’m looking forward to that one.
“Then we have Scunthorpe and they did great to stay up last year under Nigel Adkins. Swansea play good football under Paulo and then we’re off to play Forest which will be a good test.”
2010-11 will, of course, see East Anglian hostilities resumed but Canary fans will have to wait a while before ‘welcoming’ the old enemy to Norfolk, with Roy Keane’s Town due to come north of the border on November 27.
At the moment, that game, like the return fixture on April 23, is scheduled for a Saturday but as usual, expect the Carrow Road contest to be moved to the now ‘traditional’ Sunday lunchtime.
The Portman Road derby, however, may give Norfolk and Suffolk Police a headache or two, as both clubs are due to be in action on Easter Monday, meaning that a switch to Sunday April 24 is impossible.
While the opening set of fixtures represent a real chance for City to get some points on the board early on, the run-in looks a little trickier, with Forest (h), Ipswich (a), Derby (h), Portsmouth (a) and Coventry (h) facing Lambert’s men.
The Scot will, at least, be glad to finish the campaign on home soil for the second season in a row.
Other fixtures of note include yet another visit to Selhurst Park on Boxing Day, while Neil Warnock’s QPR are the Canaries’ first opponents of 2011 when they head up the M11 on New Year’s Day.