Dejan confident Saints won't trouble Canaries

Chris LakeyEx-Canaries defender Dejan Stefanovic is backing Norwich for a quick return to the Championship - and believes one of his other former clubs have done them a huge favour.Chris Lakey

Ex-Canaries defender Dejan Stefanovic is backing Norwich for a quick return to the Championship - and believes one of his other former clubs have done them a huge favour.

Southampton come to town on Saturday trying to shake off the after-effects of an humiliating 4-1 FA Cup home defeat at the hands of bitter rivals Portsmouth at the weekend.

And one-time Pompey defender Stefanovic reckons City can catch Saints cold to add weight to their promotion claims.

'I don't think Southampton are going to cause many problems for Norwich, especially the way Norwich play at home,' said the 35-year-old.


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'They're playing extra well at home this season, their form is excellent.

'They thought - because I follow what happens on the south coast - they were going to beat Portsmouth and then the next game, against Norwich, they were going to win as well. 'They were full of confidence, but now after what happened for them it is going to be difficult - I am positive Norwich will win.'

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Stefanovic was forced to retire at the start of the season, having suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in the game against Preston in November, 2008. He now lives on the south coast, 10 minutes from Southampton's ground, and keeps a close watch on City's fortunes.

'I'm not surprised at what is happening because I always thought Norwich had very good players, even last year,' he said.

'A few of them stayed there and the new manager brought in a couple of new faces as well. I have always thought Norwich is a very good club and they should be playing in the Championship.

'But with the facilities they have, they could play in the Premier League - I always say that.

'Hopefully this season is going to be perfect for everyone and Norwich will go up - and who knows what will happen in the future for Norwich, maybe they will go even higher.

'Everything is looking good and positive and I am absolutely sure that Norwich are going to be first or second, that they will be going back up next season.'

But while the former Serbian international fancies Norwich's chances of a return to the big-time, he also believes Southampton will follow - at a later date.

'It is a good club as well,' he said. 'They have a good manager and they want to get back and play in the Premier League, like Norwich, one day as well, but perhaps it won't happen this season.'

Stefanovic made just a dozen appearances - including one at Southampton where he was red-carded - for Norwich, having been signed by former boss Glenn Roeder, on a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee from Fulham.

His recovery from a knee injury appeared to be on track, but, coupled with City's relegation, it was clear that a career which began at Red Star Belgrade and also took in stints at Sheffield Wednesday and Vitesse Arnhem as well as 19 caps for his country, was to end at Norwich.

'I only played for Norwich for a year and I left, but I have good memories there - apart from the injury,' he said.

'I thought in the beginning when we started pre-season last July that I would be okay, but to be honest, Norwich went down to League One and there was my injury. No disrespect to Norwich, but I always said I wasn't going to play in League One so with that and my injury - I said, 'no, that's enough'.'

Stefanovic has been out of football since his contract was terminated by mutual consent in September, but may yet return.

'I will start a coaching course in the summer,' he said. 'I am in no rush to do something straight away. I would rather wait and be 100pc focussed on what I want to do and go from there.'

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