Monday, February 18, 2013
Norwich City will remain a Premier League club next season, as far as Joe Royle is concerned.
The former Canaries player of the season may also be remembered for his managerial spell at archrivals Ipswich Town, but having seen City’s next two opponents with a pundit’s shift for Everton’s defeat at Manchester United, Royle has full confidence Chris Hughton’s men will maintain their top-flight status for a third season.
“Draws from those next two is an aim and I haven’t seen the rest of their fixtures, but you can almost put a thumbprint on the games you know you must win or more importantly, must not lose,” said Royle.
“Listen, I’m not just saying this – I strongly expect Norwich to be in the Premier League next year. It won’t take 40 points. The last survival place at the moment is taken by two points under an average of one point per game. Aston Villa are on 24 points from 26. You transfer that to the end of the season and that would make 36 a survival target.
“One side will always come out of the pack and do what Wigan did last year, and equally what Norwich don’t want to do is be the one side that falls into it from a safe place.
“But Luciano Becchio will score a few goals; Grant Holt as well. If Alex Tettey keeps patrolling the midfield, certainly seven points is not beyond them and that would keep them in the division.”
And Royle reserved special praise for Holt – including his decision to stay at Carrow Road after a summer of discontent.
“He has certainly played at some soccer outposts; all of a sudden Paul Lambert wanted him at Colchester and Bryan Gunn took him to Norwich, and well done Gunny for that,” added Royle.
“I was a little worried at the start of the season when there was talk of him going because sometimes you’ve got to forego what you see as the riches, and say I am happy here, I am respected and I am liked, and it has been good for me. I’m glad he stayed.”