Canaries handed tough start

CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City have been handed a tough-looking start to the new season, with a trip to beaten play-off finalists Leeds on the opening day. The Canaries face Kevin Blackwell's team on Saturday, August 5 - with the first home game coming three days later when Preston, the team Leeds beat in the semi-finals, are at Carrow Road.

CHRIS LAKEY

Norwich City have been handed a tough-looking start to the new season, with a trip to beaten play-off finalists Leeds on the opening day.

The Canaries face Kevin Blackwell's team on Saturday, August 5 - with the first home game coming three days later when Preston, the team Leeds beat in the semi-finals, are at Carrow Road.

Four days later it's another home game, against Luton, before a visit to Derby and then a home game against one of the three promoted teams, Barnsley, to round off the month.


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After studying the fixture list today, Canaries boss Nigel Worthington said: “Leeds is a great game - a cracking game to open the season with and we're really looking forward to going there. It was one of our better performances in the away match there last season.

“Preston have a new manager in Paul Simpson and we would certainly like to perform better against them than we did last season.

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“It's a good start. I always like to play the big teams first because it's a challenge and one we will meet head on. It will give us an indication of where we are at against two of the better sides in the division.

“Sheffield Wednesday on the last day of the season is another of my old clubs and I very much hope we will be going there with something positive to play for.”

City's club captain Craig Fleming said it was a challenging opening month for the Canaries.

“There's no doubt it's a tough-ish start. We start with two teams who have made the play-offs, two very good sides.

“To be fair, it's going to be that kind of league when you look at the sides who have come down. From our point of view we have to ensure we are ready for it and up for the challenge from the off as it's obviously important to get off to a good start.”

The first of the big East Anglian derby games is on November 18, when Norwich travel down the A140 to Ipswich, with the reverse fixture booked for April 21 - although it is more than likely that those will be changed to Sunday kick-offs.

City have been handed a home game against Southend on Boxing Day, but will travel to Crystal Palace on New Year's Day while the season ends, as it begins, in Yorkshire, with a trip to one of City manager Nigel Worthington's former clubs, Sheffield Wednesday.

The first sight of the Championship's new boys comes with the visit of play-off winners Barnsley, and former Canaries striker Paul Hayes, on August 26, before City make the trip to League One champions Southend in mid-September. Last year's runners-up in League One, Colchester, are in Norfolk for Halloween.

Preston in February is the longest midweek trip by some way, while the journey down to Plymouth will be out of the way fairly early in the campaign, on September 23.

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