Ruddy confident Norwich City can compete in Premier League

Norwich City goalkeeper John Ruddy is confident the Premier League new boys will not be top flight cannon fodder.

Paul Lambert's men have already been widely-tipped by the pundits for an instant return to the Championship – but Ruddy is bullish City can compete among England's elite.

'It isn't automatically the case that the sides who go up come straight back down,' he said. 'Blackpool have shown that to this point, because a lot of people would have had them relegated before Christmas at the start of the season. They've done really well and are still in with a chance of staying up.

'I hope they do. It's trying to break that stereotype that the promoted sides are always favourites to go straight back down. We know we have enough quality in the squad and with the management we have here we can certainly stay in the Premier League.'

Lambert's summer player recruitment drive could hold the key to the Canaries' bid to avoid the same fate that befell Nigel Worthington's class of 2005.

'We need to keep the majority of the lads we have got and everyone who has helped us to get to the Premier League throughout the squad,' said Ruddy. 'I think it's about trying to keep them together so there is not too much change, but obviously we'll need to bring in a few more bodies for that strength in depth. It's going to be an interesting summer now.

'We can relax for a couple of weeks, try and let it sink in, and then its back here trying to make sure we get the fitness levels back up for the start of pre-season.

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'There isn't that much time to enjoy it really because you have to work even harder and put even more effort in to maintain the levels that you need for next year.'

Ruddy's Premier League highpoint will come with a potential return to old club Everton.

'I'm looking forward to going back to Goodison,' he said. 'They have a great set-up there with great fans, great players and coaching staff.

'It'll be really good to say goodbye properly to everyone – and hopefully we'll take the three points as well. You dream as a player of playing at the highest level and to do it in this manner has been amazing.

'The players deserve every credit we get, so do the staff and so do the fans. It really is a joint effort to pull together from everybody.

'I've had a bit of time to try and make it sink in, but it hasn't. It's such a surreal experience. I was watching Man United and Chelsea on Sunday and thinking we are going to be playing against those lads next year and you just think, 'wow'. I guess it probably won't be until the fixture list comes out that it starts to sink in. It may not even be that, it might be when the first game comes around.'

Ruddy and the rest of Lambert's squad could have been preparing for tense play-off battles this coming weekend if the Canaries' had not held their collective nerve over the run-in.

'It's not just the pressure that is involved in those type of games, but you look at the four teams who have made it through as well,' he said. 'They are top quality teams and it'll take a brave man to pick a winner out of those. We're glad we got our part over and done with and we wish all those teams the best of luck and we look forward to playing one of them again in the Premier League.

'It's so tight, it's almost a toss of a coin. There is not a huge difference between the four teams. Personally, if my money was going on anyone I'd like to see Swansea because of the way they play. They play very good football and it would be interesting to see how they equip themselves. Reading have also hit a bit of form at the end and showed they can handle the pressure.'