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Jon Riley 5th Aug 2010 - 16:04

Malky's men to shudder to an early Holt

For fans of English football the wait is nearly over. The Npower Championship gets underway on Friday when newly promoted Norwich City welcome their former player Malky Mackay back to Carrow Road as manager of visiting Watford.

I don't know about you but it seems like an absolute age since England limped so meekly out of the World Cup, destroying my dreams of a footy filled Summer culminating in Three Lions success.

But it wasn't to be.

Forget about the pampered Premier League stars that disappointed us so badly in South Africa because the proper football is back.

Despite being the promoted club in this contest it is the Canaries that are overwhelming favourites at 8/11 to win the game.

Norwich were by the far the best team in League One last season and ended the campaign as Champions. The same squad that brought the League One trophy back to Norfolk has been supplemented by the attacking quality of Andrew Surman (20/1 First goal scorer) and Simeon Jackson (5/1).

Manager Paul Lambert is one of the most respected coaches outside of the Premier League and reportedly rebuffed the advances of Scottish giants Celtic to stay with Norwich. The Carrow Road board were quick to act after the first league game of last season where Lambert brought his then Colchester side and dished out a 7-1 drubbing (Norwich to win 7/1, 400/1).

The one man that Lambert will hope to have on the pitch for this Championship curtain raiser is his skipper Grant Holt. The former Shrewsbury and Sheffield Wednesday striker hit 24 goals in his team's promotion season and is 7/2 to open the scoring and just 10/11 to notch anytime.

As a former Norwich centre back Malky Mackay will have a contingency plan to try and shackle the City attack, and Holt in particular.

His Watford (16/5) side struggled last season and only the manager's magnificent use of the loan system kept the Hertfordshire club above the relegation precipice. The goals and creation of Henry Lansbury and Tom Cleverly will certainly be missed and the Hornets fans are now looking to Danny Graham (7/1) and Will Buckley (9/1) to fire in the goals.

If they cannot find the net on a regular basis then it could be a potentially very long season for Watford.

Recent history is with the visitors though. Watford have won four of the last six meetings between the two clubs and the Hornets fans will cling to this fact as they make the arduous trip across the east of England.

I fully expect Paul Lambert's first match as a Championship manager to result in a victory for his men. The Carrow Road faithful will be well up for this game after their twelve month foray into the lower reaches of the football league.

Norwich /Norwich in the double result market could be where the money is to be made at a very decent 11/5.




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