Former Norwich City stars backing Canaries to survive in the Premier League

Tomorrow the green and yellow army travels north to Wigan for Norwich City's long-awaited return to the Premier League, with hopes high that the Canaries can re-establish themselves among English football's elite.

City were one of the 22 founder members of the Premier League 19 years ago.

At the time of the reinvention of English football's top flight, City were one of the top teams in the country and famously finished a club-record third in that first 1992/93 season.

Since relegation in 1995, the Canaries have bounced back just once, the class of 2004/05 narrowly missing survival on the last day of the season and getting relegated back to the second tier.

Since then, City's plight has been well documented, dropping down to the third tier for the first time in almost 50 years before manager Paul Lambert inspired his side to back-to-back promotions to bring City fans to today.

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Full of anticipation, excitement and vibrant in yellow and green, there will be 4,500 Norwich fans making their way to Wigan Athletic's DW Stadium, wondering whether the heights of the early 1990s can be reached again with Lambert's current crop.

Former City star Daryl Sutch was part of the City squad that took the Premiership by storm in the 1992/93 season and, although he knows football has changed a great deal since, he is backing City to survive this season.

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The Lowestoft-born full-back, who made 352 appearances for the Canaries, said: 'They've got a good manager, you can't knock back-to-back promotions, but it is a completely different challenge to when we were doing well in the Premiership.

'There are better teams, a lot more money, more ability and world-class players in the Premier League now.

'It would be a massive ask for them to get into the top half, but they can stay up this season and build from there because they have a very ambitious manager.'

The former England Under-21 international is also confident that City can get off to a strong start tomorrow, adding: 'Any side would rather play Wigan than one of the top six for the first game and I'm sure Norwich will be relishing the chance to get off to a flying start.'

And ahead of their return to the big time the Canaries have been given a ringing endorsement by former manager Bryan Gunn.

He said: 'I think it's fantastic to be back in the Premier League, that's where the club belongs. It's geared towards playing there and it's great they're back there after being away for so long – I'm delighted to see that and I'm delighted for the fans and owners too.'

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