Norwich City boss Alex Neil is setting his sights higher than Premier League survival

Survival will naturally be a significant ambition for Norwich City - but its not the target. Picture

Survival will naturally be a significant ambition for Norwich City - but its not the target. Picture: Antony Kelly - Credit: Archant

Norwich City will prove the bookmakers wrong if they make a success of survival on their Premier League return.

But simply aiming for a 17th-place finish will not satisfy City boss Alex Neil as he heads into his first campaign managing in the English top flight.

The Canaries are even money to finish in the bottom three following their Championship play-off promotion in May according to numerous bookmakers, ahead of kick-off in the Premier League this weekend.

They are predicted to have familiar company in the relegation zone too, with Watford the odds-on favourites to finish bottom and Bournemouth 3/2 – meaning all three promoted clubs have been tipped for short Premier League stays.

Of the established clubs, SkyBet have effectively warned Sunderland and the Midlands trio of Aston Villa, Leicester and West Brom to look over their shoulders, while City's opening weekend opponents Crystal Palace are 7/1 to avoid the drop in their third top-flight campaign.

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Survival will naturally be a significant ambition for City – but it's not the target.

'I think if you approach the season with it all being about survival, then realistically you're looking at finishing 17th and being happy with that, and I wouldn't be happy with that at the moment,' said Neil.

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'I think we've got to go and attack it, exactly like we did when I first came down, and we can't have any fear of what's coming. We've got to go and embrace it and do the best we can.'

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