Pre-season is a strange time. It is a time when meaningless games are played, players are brought in on trial, transfer rumours spread quickly and local newspapers try and keep interest going in all things Norwich City.
One of the more positive aspects of pre-season though is that it is a time where you can get extremely optimistic about the months ahead without your predictions being immediately quashed.
No league games have been played, the new players haven’t shown how good they are in competitive action and everyone says all of the right things ahead of the new season. That’s why pre-season is the time for positive thinking.
Regardless of the type of campaign your team had previously, many people look to the new season as a fresh start, a time to start playing properly for once. ‘This is going to be our year.’ ‘We have finally got a group of players together that can win promotion’ – familiar phrases from this time of the year, I’m sure you can agree.
So, sticking to the idea that everyone has to be positive in pre-season, I’m going to stick my neck out and say that Bryan Gunn has put together a very respectable squad this summer. It is a squad that, I think, will win us promotion back to the Championship.
Why do I think this? Well, partly because I can do so without much thought at this stage of proceedings. In all seriousness though, I am pleased with the players Gunn has brought in.
Loan players are a thing of the past with several permanent transfers coming in. Based on last season’s failings, this can only be a good thing. There is some quality there too. With Simon Whaley, Grant Holt and Goran Maric coming in to support the attacking threat already provided by Wes Hoolahan, there is something to work with going forward.
We have plenty of options in midfield as well where competiton for places is likely to be very intense. Several players will be eyeing a central midfield spot. Then, in defence, there is cover in every position.
To be honest, if we went into a season in the Championship with the current squad, I would be relatively confident that we would avoid the drop. Therefore, the fact we are a level below – in League One – leads me to believe that we will be celebrating come May next year. My League One bets are certainly going to be erring on the side of optimism anyway!
Bring it on!
by Thomas Rooney