Stick to your principles - Charlton

Norwich old boy Simon Charlton is urging the Canaries to stick to their footballing beliefs back in the Premier League.

Charlton was part of City's last top flight campaign in 2004/05 after previously helping establish Bolton as a permanent fixture amongst the big boys. Paul Lambert's attacking philosophy helped sweep Norwich to consecutive promotions from the Football League – and Charlton insists they have nothing to fear ahead of the new season.

'What they've done in getting promoted and how they've done it was sensational. They really played some good stuff,' he said. 'At Bolton we had a particular way of playing when we first got up. A lot of people thought it was ugly. Within the club we didn't think it was like that, but with the players we had at that time it worked for us. Sam Allardyce was intelligent enough to play a system which worked for the team. He wasn't out there to win plaudits from the media saying how well we'd played, but isn't it a shame they got relegated.

'Blackpool were great going forward last season, but defensively they were a nightmare.

'Yes, it will be tough, but who really thought Norwich could go into the Championship and get promoted straight away? I thought a mid-table finish would be a good base to push on from. I'm sure Paul will try to play football because that seems to be the way he likes to play the game, but they won't be gung ho. I don't think you can change the system and maybe play like Stoke do.'

The Trotters are now gearing up for an 11th consecutive Premier League campaign after Charlton's vintage earned promotion during his first season at the Reebok. The ex-full back sees plenty of similarities between Lambert and Bolton counterpart Owen Coyle.

'I don't know Paul, but you have to be impressed at the way he has set his team out,' he said. 'I was talking to Owen Coyle only last week and I said to him how similar I thought both men were in terms of how they try to do that. You couldn't say either have gone out and brought in superstars or even any established Premier League players, so it looks like he wants to carry on the momentum and the confidence – which is what got them up there in the first place.

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'For all that, it is going to be very difficult. Footballers live on confidence and those players will be used to winning games. It's a fantastic ride for the players, for the supporters and for the club. I'm sure everyone outside Norwich will have them as among the favourites to come straight back down, but the Premier League these days is full of surprises. I always maintained we had better players at Norwich that season in the top division than when Bolton first went up in my time there.'

Charlton briefly flirted with management at Ridgeons club Mildenhall following retirement, but now scours some of football's more remote outposts for young prospects.

'The coaching on the professional side is on the back burner now,' he said. 'I set up a company along with three other people that does a bit of coaching and identifies potential talent in places like Africa, South America and Eastern Europe.

'It's something a bit different, but its right up my street. It's not the usual agent-type work, but it's good fun. I was in Tanzania before Christmas, but Eastern Europe has a lot of good, technical players who don't have anything in their lives. They really are using football as an escape.

'There's a team out there at under-20 level who we are in the process of bringing over and arranging a game against a Man United side to showcase them.'