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Championship Preview: Martin confident of Norwich promotion push, Fulham visit Ipswich

6 August 2014 15:49

Russell Martin is confident Norwich City have the armoury to secure an immediate return to the Premier League.

Norwich's three-year stay in the top flight came to an end last season when they were consigned to relegation along with Cardiff City and Fulham.

Their quest for an immediate escape from the Championship begins with a visit to Molineux to face newly-promoted Wolves on Monday, which will be the first time the two sides have met since they locked horns in the Premier League in March 2012.

Wolves are riding on the crest of a wave after winning the League One title, so Norwich can expect a stern test against Kenny Jackett's side.

Norwich will be out to make a statement of intent, though, and captain Martin is confident everything is in place for a promotion push at Carrow Road in Neil Adams' first full season at the helm..

"It is an exciting first game back in the Championship," he wrote in a blog for Norwich's official website.

"The aim as everyone knows is to get back to the Premier League as quickly as possible. With the squad and management we have in place we will do everything we can to achieve this."

Norwich head coach Adams has added forwards Lewis Grabban and Kyle Lafferty and midfielder Gary O'Neil to his squad ahead of the new campaign, with Robert Snodgrass and Ricky van Wolfswinkel the most high profile departures.

The Norfolk outfit are not the only relegated side who had been busy re-shaping their squad, as Fulham and Cardiff City have also been busy in the market.

Fulham forked out a reported £11million to sign last season's Championship top scorer Ross McCormack from Leeds United and manager Felix Magath will hope he hits the ground running when they visit Ipswich Town on Saturday.

Cardiff finished bottom in their first season in the Premier League, but in close-season signings Adam Le Fondre and Federico Macheda the Welsh outfit have added proven Championship firepower.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men will kick-off the season at Ewood Park when they take on Blackburn Rovers in the Championship's curtain-raiser on Friday.

Derby County attempt to forget the heartbreak of May's play-off final defeat to QPR when they welcome Championship new boys Rotherham United to the iPro Stadium on Saturday, with Steve Evans' men returning to the second tier following back-to-back promotions.

Brentford, who gained promotion via a runners-up berth in League One, host London rivals Charlton Athletic.

Blackpool will be the visitors to the City Ground on Saturday when Stuart Pearce takes charge of his first league game since returning to Nottingham Forest.

Pearce this week vowed to stay on despite revealing that goalkeeper Karl Darlow and defender Jamaal Lascelles were being sold to Newcastle United without his knowledge – a claim disputed by owner Fawaz Al Hasawi.

Blackpool have also had problems in pre-season, with new manager Jose Riga struggling to assemble a squad in time for the start of the campaign.

Wigan Athletic and Brighton and Hove Albion, beaten in the play-off semi-finals last season, start with home matches against Reading and Sheffield Wednesday respectively.

There has been a big recruitment drive at Leeds in the close-season and charismatic owner Massimo Cellino will expect a strong start from new head coach Dave Hockaday when the Yorkshire outfit visit Millwall.

Huddersfield Town and Middlesbrough host Bournemouth and Birmingham City respectively, while Bolton Wanderers travel to Watford in the other opening-day fixtures.

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Championship table

# Team MP D P
1 7 +10 17
2 7 +10 16
3 7 +7 15
4 7 +4 14
5 7 +3 13
6 7 +1 13
7 7 +5 12
8 7 +3 12
9 7 +2 12
10 7 +3 11
11 7 +0 11
12 7 +0 10
13 7 -1 10
14 7 -3 10
15 7 +1 8
16 7 +1 8
17 7 -1 8
18 7 -2 7
19 7 -4 7
20 7 -7 6
21 7 -5 5
22 7 -8 5
23 7 -7 1
24 7 -12 1

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