Bookies write off Canaries

CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City are already lagging behind their Championship rivals - with the season still more than two months away.British bookmakers have them outside the top six as far as promotion is concerned, with all three sides relegated from the Premiership tipped to go straight back up.

CHRIS LAKEY

Norwich City are already lagging behind their Championship rivals - with the season still more than two months away.

British bookmakers have them outside the top six as far as promotion is concerned, with all three sides relegated from the Premiership tipped to go straight back up.

And that might just suit Nigel Worthington's team, who failed to live up to top billing in such spectacular style last season, eventually trailing in ninth with their tails between their legs.


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As one of the relegated team the Canaries were expected to bounce straight back up, but it just didn't work out.

A year later the bookies are sticking with tradition, and that means the pressure is firmly on Birmingham, West Brom and Sunderland.

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The Canaries are rated between 12-1 and 14-1 to win promotion and if there were a league table for odds, that would place them as seventh favourites.

And that, according to EDP fans' forum contributor Kathy Blake - and also secretary of the Norwich City Independent Supporters' Association (NCISA) - is just about where they deserve to be.

“I think that's about right,” she said. “If anything it might be a bit optimistic.

“I thought last year's odds were accurate - we had Dean Ashton at centre forward, we had Calum Davenport, possibly the best centre half in the division and we definitely had Robert Green in goal - and we don't definitely have him in goal next season. The fact is we should have done better, and I put that down to the manager rather than the team.”

Peter Wolsey, treasurer of Norwich City Shareholders Association and also a NCISA member, was more bullish and said City's odds were attractive.

“I think a lot of City fans will get on because there is no reason why we should not finish in the top six,” he said. “Every year this division gets harder and harder and the three teams that have come down are strong. But what it important is we see a better performance than we had last year and if we do we can finish in the top six.”

Birmingham are tipped to finish top of the pile, with William Hill rating them an 11-2 chance for an immediate return to the top flight. West Brom are looking good for the second automatic promotion spot as far as the bookies are concerned, with their price ranging from 7-1 down to 11-2.

Following them are Sunderland, Crystal Palace - both currently managerless - Wolves and play-off losers Leeds.

The Black Cats are 6-1 with Skybet but drift out to 10-1 with William Hill. Palace range from 8-1 to 10-1 while Wolves hover between 9-1 and 12-1. Leeds are close behind, at 7-1 with Ladbrokes but 12-1 with Skybet.

The Canaries are next best, with Skybet rating them a 10-1 chance, although they drift out to 14-1 with betdirect.

While the Canaries have little to shout about, the outlook appears bleak for East Anglian rivals Ipswich, although opinion differs greatly as to their chances.

Without a manager and having to ask a company bearing the name Norwich to help them out financially, the Portman Road outfit are way down the pecking order - although they appear to have confused the bookies. Betdirect have them as 20-1 shots, but Ladbrokes don't fancy them at all, rating them as 40-1 shots to go up.

Of the newcomers the bookies hold out little hope for Colchester and Southend, who are rated to finish in the bottom three, with QPR holding up the table.

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