Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Bradley Johnson is warning his Norwich City team mates they will be a prime scalp in the Championship promotion stakes.
"QPR did it last year but Wigan failed in the play-offs. I prefer to look at the positive side of that and if QPR can do it then so can we."
The combative midfielder is no stranger to the second tier after his spell at Leeds and Johnson insists the majority of the division would love nothing better than to prolong the misery for the relegated Premier League trio.
“People say there is not that much difference between the top two leagues and I would agree with them,” he said. “There are some good players in this league who could operate higher. It is always the way when the Premier League sides come down they will be seen as the ones to beat because a lot tip the relegated teams to go straight back up. QPR did it last year but Wigan failed in the play-offs. I prefer to look at the positive side of that and if QPR can do it then so can we. We had three seasons in the Premier, we know the last one wasn’t good enough but we also feel we are capable of getting back there. It has been a long break. It has felt like a long break with the disappointment of last year and it is something we want to put right. We can’t wait to get the Championship started and to try and get out of this league as soon as possible. I am looking forward to the season.”
Johnson was one of a select group who opted to spent part of the recess working on his fitness at Colney.
“Myself, Benno (Elliott Bennett), Ryan Bennett and one or two others all used the facilities at the training ground and the fitness coaches came in as well to help us. You almost have to be fit before you return for pre-season. You have to look after yourself through the summer,” he said. “It’s good to see Elliott back after what he went through last season with the injury. He is my best mate at the club and I know how difficult it has been and how hard he has had to work but he is one who if he gets in the team can help us kick on and get out of the league.”
Johnson believes fresh blood in the shape of Kyle Lafferty and Lewis Grabban allied to a growing youthful influence within Neil Adams’ squad is a positive step.
“Kyle will cause problems. He is a handful, even in training. He showed what he was all about with his goal (at Dereham) and I think if he stays fit he will be a real asset for us,” he said. “You look at the two Murphys and Redders (Nathan Redmond) and I would hate to play against those lads. They are young, they bring a lot of energy and with them in the squad I am sure they can play a big part in the season.”
Johnson finished City’s opening 1-0 friendly win at Alidss Park wearing the captain’s armband after Russell Martin’s departure, and the 27-year-old is prepared to take a leadership role if required.
“He came over and gave it to me and I was not going to turn that down,” he said. “It is always tough the first few games of pre-season. The main thing was to get some minutes under our belt. It wasn’t about the result. We had plenty of chances and we managed to win in the end but Dereham made it hard work for us and they tried to play football. That is what you want.”