Lambert aiming for the play-offs, says Dublin

Paddy DavittFormer Norwich City star Dion Dublin is backing the Canaries to get off to a Championship flyer.Paul Lambert's League One title winners host Malky Mackay's Watford on August 7 before travelling to another of last season's strugglers Scunthorpe the following weekend.Paddy Davitt

Former Norwich City star Dion Dublin is backing the Canaries to get off to a Championship flyer.

Paul Lambert's League One title winners host Malky Mackay's Watford on August 7 before travelling to another of last season's strugglers Scunthorpe the following weekend.

"It's a great chance for the club to get off and running although the first game won't be an easy one because Malky will look to put one over on them I'm sure," said Dublin. "Any player will tell you the same but a good start is really what you want because I genuinely believe there is so many clubs who can win the npower Championship this year.

"You look at those fixtures and think they can get some points but you just don't know - sometimes getting one of the teams who has been relegated from the Premiership might work out better because they aren't quite into their full stride. "


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City's former player-of-the-year has ruled out any calamitous repeat of Norwich's opening day disaster against Colchester last season - given the architect of that 7-1 mauling is now at the Carrow Road helm.

"With all due respect I can't see any team doing that to them again," said Dublin. "They have the right manager to do the job and with him in charge I don't think that will ever happen. I've met him a couple of times and I played against him a couple of times. I've spent time in his company and had the odd beer in the manager's office after games and I know that his goal this year is the play-offs at least. He is a very motivated young manager who knows how to mould a team and his teams have no grey areas -those players will all be told exactly how he wants things done."

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Dublin knows Norwich's support base will relish the return of clashes against fierce rivals Ipswich, with the Tractor Boys scheduled to visit Carrow Road on November 27 before Norwich head across the border in late April.

"It's great for the fans who have shown incredible loyalty over the past few years, especially," he said. "No one really cares where you are in the league at the time. It's all about bragging rights for the weekend for those punters so they can go back to work on a Monday and have some banter with their mates. For players, it's a spicy occasion because the fans are really up for it, the noise levels are up and the stadiums are full. I think it's good for both clubs and the area because there will be a lot of hype around those games."

Dublin is also convinced Norwich can emulate the likes of Leicester and Blackpool, who both upset the odds last season to feature in the promotion shake-up.

"All the divisions in the football league are wide open but I really feel that is the case in the npower Championship," he said. "You could put Tottenham versus Middlesbrough, Coventry, Norwich, etc, and that fixture would not look out of place.

"I think you have 16 or 18 clubs of a Premier League stature and that is where everyone wants to be - so it will be interesting.

"You can only get so far with hard work and determination but if you don't have that then, take it from me, you are struggling. That must be your bread and butter and you also need to rely on a bit of luck and that bit of quality."

To celebrate their new sponsorship of the football league, npower are offering fans a helping hand - sign up and get a �45 voucher to spend in any club shop. For more information visit npower.com

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