Football's back!

So, with two days until City's big Championship kick-off against Hull, how are you feeling?

Have you been wooed by the new signings, are refreshed by a summer break and feel that David Wagner's men will mount a really serious promotion push?

Are you in the "still gloomy" camp and bracing yourself for another term of unrelenting tedium and mid table mediocrity?

Or are you somewhere in the middle? You're still suffering a bit of a 2022/23 hangover but are relatively encouraged by the pre-season, while remaining concerned about certain aspects of City's squad and tactics.

Eastern Daily Press: Fans will be hoping for an improvement this season

Come 3pm on Saturday it will be 89 days since that utterly miserable 1-0 Carrow Road defeat to Blackpool, which ended one of the most depressing campaigns for years.

It actually seems longer ago than that to me, and I've spent the summer so far trying to blot from my memory that afternoon as well as so many other terrible moments from the previous nine months.

Let's face it, if it hadn't been Teemu Pukki's farewell match, there would have been so much more bile after that Blackpool defeat than there was.

Well, come on fellow City fans, we need to leave the past in the past and be united with a fresh start.

Of course I'm not saying lessons don't need to be learned from the errors of years gone by.

I'm not advocating a "happy clappy, everything is rosy" mentality either.

Supporters must be able to voice their opinions.

But the start of this campaign must be a new chapter.

If there's a misplaced pass after seven minutes on Saturday, we can't have the "here we go again...." shouts.

The summer transfer business has certainly been interesting.

I think the revamped squad leaves City bigger, stronger and meaner and with more experience at this level.

I love a rough and tough striker, so am definitely looking forward to seeing much more of Ashley Barnes.

A key thing about the former Burnley man is that he comes in with a winning mentality after his title winning campaign.

He is clearly a big character which will be so vital and something which was definitely lacking last term.

When the going got tough in 2022/23, there were far too few players getting going.

Barnes already picked up a clutch of yellow cards. While we don't want him continually missing due to suspensions, we have to welcome the no-nonsense, aggressive approach he has brought.

One way I feel Barnes' influence will be particularly critical will be the way he can improve Josh Sargent.

Eastern Daily Press: Josh Sargent has taken the number nine shirt at Norwich City.

It seems that they will be playing as a front two and if he can pass on his experience, guile and meanness to his young partner, that could take the American to another level.

There appears to be the prospect of more resilience and toughness in the squad - other factors which simply have to improve.

I heard Wagner talk about the extra training sessions the players are doing and we have to hope that will mean they're much fitter.

Eastern Daily Press: All smiles from City head coach David Wagner

I also recall the head coach say that when the lads turned up at Colney for the early session, he pointed out to them that the workmen carrying out improvements to the training ground had already been on site for some time.

It's never a bad thing for footballers to have a reality check.   

Back to the new signings and Shane Duffy also looks like a decent acquisition with experience also being very welcome.

Jack Stacey and Kellen Fisher are two recruits who have shone in the curtain raisers and look set to play a key role this year.

It's a huge blow that Borja Sainz picked up his ankle injury which will rule him out until well into the autumn.

He looks like a player who - when fit and firing - could provide some magic.

A lot is expected of Christian Fassnacht, but how quickly will he be able to adapt to the rigours of second tier football?

The really key questions - which will shape if we can be serious promotion contenders in a tough season - is whether there is enough creativity to provide the real spark - and enough quality.

Every club in the Championship will say getting a good start is critical. I'd say that is so much more so for the Canaries.

I'm not a massive one for predictions but I'm going to kick off with a few to start the new campaign.

We'll start on Saturday with a 2-0 win (Barnes and Sargent), Sarge will get to 20 goals this season and be player of the season and City will end up sixth (and Ipswich will be eighth). 

Let's strap in and get ready for the ride.


City fans are so lucky

I've said it many times - Norwich fans are so lucky with the coverage they get from the local media.

I'm proud to work with a brilliant sports team who work so hard and with such professionalism to give supporters superb content.

They followed Wagner's men around Europe during the summer with excellent reports, podcasts, interviews and analysis.

I can guarantee the quality of words, videos and pictures will be maintained throughout the season.

Whether City win, lose or draw and whether the team are at home on a sunny August Saturday or away on a dark October night in Swansea, our guys will be there.

While everyone in our team clearly wants the Canaries to succeed, we will ask the tough questions and say it as it is when necessary.

I also want to give a mention to our friends at BBC Radio Norfolk.

They're going through a really tough time at the moment with all of the local radio proposed changes.

It's great that my fellow columnist Chris Goreham will continue doing the match commentaries which I know mean so much to many fans.

Chris is stepping down from The Scrimmage Show and my old mate Chris Reeve will be replacing him and joining Rob Butler. I wish the guys all the best - and I'm sure they'll make a fascinating double act!

Your chance to quiz the stars 

The Norwich City Fans' Social Club are certainly on fire at the start of the new season.

Last week they held their family fun day at The Nest which attracted more than 150 kids and parents and raised £1646 for the Community Sports Foundation.

And they've got a treat for supporters lined up later this month with their fans' forum.

Keeper Angus (he's one of us) Gunn, new recruit Jack Stacey and Jon Rowe (who impressed in the final pre-season game on Saturday) will be taking part in a Q&A in the Top Of The Terrace at Carrow Road.

The event - hosted by City legend Darren Eadie - is on Tuesday, August 22. Doors open at 6.45 for a 7.15pm start.

The cost is £5 adults and £1 for accompanied under 18s.

There will be a raffle and a licensed bar.

More information is available on the NCFSC website - - or their Facebook or Twitter.