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Dean Smith preparing Norwich for life in the Championship again

By By Jim van Wijk, PA
Dean Smith will not have a long break as he gets the squad ready for life back in the second tier (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Dean Smith knows Norwich will have little time to adjust to being a Sky Bet Championship club again.

The Canaries are dropping back out of the Premier League after just one season, their fate sealed with four matches left to play.

It was always going to be a tall order for Smith and assistant Craig Shakespeare to turn things around at Carrow Road after inheriting a squad which had already come up short in the top flight for former boss Daniel Farke.

With the opening day of the new English Football League set for July 30 and a pause for the World Cup, Smith accepts everyone will have to be ready to hit the ground running.

“We have got two games to finish the Premier League season and then we are a Championship club again. We have to get around that very quickly,” said Smith, who took Aston Villa up through the play-offs in 2019.

“I would have wanted this fight to stay in the Premier League to go on as long as it could.

“It hasn’t, but it gives us that advantage then of knowing where we are next season and looking for what we need to do and plan a little bit earlier, which is what we have been doing.”

Smith told a press conference: “What is really good for me now is that we have got a pre-season to work with the players because that is where you get the majority of your tactical and physical work in.

“We will be working on four points in terms of our style of play and what we are looking for and we can get that drummed into them during pre-season.”

Smith could look to utilise players expected to be key to Norwich’s promotion hopes next season over their last two games, away at Wolves then home against Tottenham.

Angus Gunn is expected to start in goal again on Sunday after Dutchman Tim Krul was rested for the midweek defeat at Leicester, where midfielder Tony Springett impressed on his first Premier League start.

Smith feels the 19-year-old academy graduate can continue to progress.

“Tony has earned the right to get into the team, so there is no expectation on him really,” said Smith.

“He is a lad that we all love working with. He has got bundles of energy, great work ethic and his numbers were brilliant. We are really pleased with how he is progressing.”

Norwich head to Wolves on Sunday looking to arrest a run of five straight defeats and without scoring a goal in the last four games.

Wolves, meanwhile, were beaten 5-1 by title-chasing Manchester City in midweek, but remain on course for a top-eight finish.

Smith hopes his side can take a positive mindset from previous performances against them this season.

“We have played them twice already this season, and they have not managed to score against us, so that is something we can cling on to and take into the game,” the Norwich boss said.

“We played very well at home against them, should have beaten them, then we went and beat them (away) in the FA Cup.

“It is a team which we know a lot about and hopefully we can take that into the game on Sunday.”

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