Norwich defender Adam Drury believes the Championship will be wide open this season, as Norfolk prepares for the big kick-off in three days time.
The Canaries make their return to the second tier at home to Watford on Friday night after storming League One last season, with plenty tipping them to challenge at the top end once again.
And stalwart left-back Drury is convinced it’s all up for grabs in 2010/11, with City hoping to carry some of last year’s momentum forward.
“This is what the lads worked for last season, to get back to the Championship. Now we are back we have to keep working hard,” he told reporters at the weekend.
“The results and the way we have played up to now have been good – but it is back to getting results now and that is the main thing. The Championship is going to be as tough as any year but I think any team has as good a chance as anyone this season.
“If you can get off to a good start, which a lot of clubs are going to be aiming to do, then you get momentum. Hopefully ours will spill over from last season – that is what we will be looking to do.
“But it will be a test, not just for the club but the lads as well as some of them have not played in it before. It will be a test for them to find out what it is all about and it will be enjoyable, but only if we win.”
The Canaries have the luxury of a home fixture first up and a winnable one at that, with Malky Mackay’s Hornets only just avoiding relegation last season. And Drury is hoping that they can use it to their advantage and get off to a flyer.
“We have to use it as a plus. The fanbase here is great, the atmosphere will be great and we are on TV so we have to use that to our advantage. But the main thing is winning and it doesn’t matter how we do it.”
The club have had an up and down pre-season, with the 2-1 victory over Premier League Newcastle the obvious highlight.
But the Canary defender believes the summer will prove to have been good preparation for the new Championship season, with plenty of games to get match-fit.
“I think it has been good,” Drury continued. “OK, we have picked up a few knocks, but the games have been tough tests so yes, it has been good.
“We have had a few new faces come in and it is important they get used to the way we play and settle in. I think our trip to Germany was a big help in getting us to gel. It has been about working hard and winning that first game of the season.”
However, despite many ‘experts’ predicting a successful campaign for the Canaries, including Sky Sports pundit Don Goodman, Drury insists that the squad have plenty to prove.
After all, they dropped out of the division in 2008/09, and with many members of the squad new to this level, the City squad have sufficient motivation to succeed.
“I think every player has something to prove every time they go out and play at this level. You are going to play against good teams and some have got more money to spend.
“Some clubs have kept their squad together and there are others who are there or thereabouts every year so you are always going to be playing a tough game.
“Home and away, each game will be tough and we just have to look after ourselves.”