Next Year`s Big Players
Every year, every team will have those players that define their season or are a major reason they do what they do. Last year, the fans saw those players as David Fox, John Ruddy and Grant Holt by voting them into their top 3 in the Player of the Year award.
Who will be those players this season and who could be the one to give us those much needed points for survival… or better?
The first three are those who are almost definitely going to have a major impact on the club this year; and to be honest, it`s the usual suspects!
After everything over the summer with his contract, and a transfer request, the Horse will come back with the bit between his teeth and wanting to prove he`s going to be worth that extra year. Likely to be, though as yet unconfirmed, the club`s captain, he`ll always lift the side with his presence. As for his goals, it would be a phenomenal achievement to get 15 or better for a consecutive season but I think he`ll come close. It`ll depend on if Chris Hughton decides he wants to go with one or two strikers, to how much game time Holt gets with Morison, Vaughan and Jackson eagerly breathing down his neck.
With a big 8 goals in his first Premier League season from midfield and a number of assists, Pilks was a huge part of the success last season, with rumours of interest from Liverpool in January. If he can continue that form into a second season then there will almost definitely be interest in January and next summer. With Bennett, Surman and Snodgrass, he has competition for the wide positions but should do enough to keep his place in the team.
A very well-deserved call up to the England Euro 2012 Squad was sadly cut short after just two days during the summer but it is a testament to what he achieved last season. Just three clean sheets in the league but he looked very good throughout with some world class saves against some top teams. Those two days with England will have helped him a lot and with the England goalkeeping coach now at Norwich he should be able to press on even more with his second season in the top flight. Should be a certainty unless Hughton plans on signing another keeper but I can`t see this happening so expect some more huge performances from big JR.
With players joining and others coming back from long term injuries, I think some may yet prove to be a big part of the team next year. These three are the outsiders.
The player I was most excited about last summer and a player I`m very confident he will end up being Paul Lambert`s best signing for the club. Unfortunate with injuries last season he has started this year`s pre season in fantastic form and is looking as sharp as ever. With pace to burn, I think he could get 10-15 goals if kept fit. Personally, I think a front two partnership of Holt and Vaughan could be deadly. Imagine being a centre half and having to mark either a big, strong striker with great movement, or a very quick striker who you`re probably going to spend most of your time chasing. I wouldn`t fancy facing either of them!
A great defensive signing for the club and caught a lot of people by surprise, with most expecting Hughton to bring Birmingham player Curtis Davies with him. Bags of experience and has a few good seasons in the Premier League now, he will surely help to make the City back line a bit more solid. Can be found out with pace but will be solid enough elsewhere and with fairly quick Dani Ayala or Ryan Bennett in support he should be ok.
Not at all considered an outsider to be a huge player for us but as he only joined in January you have to consider the chance of a good spell trying to impress after he joined was what was seen towards the end of last season. I don`t think that is the case and he will be the heart of our midfield this season. Looked to have a lot of creativity, great vision, great passing, good defensively and loves to get forward and have a go; imagine, Wes/Surman/Fox/Pilks best bits merged into one player and that`s what you have with Howson. Will chip in with a few goals next year and could prove to be our best player. Time will tell but he definitely has the ability.
Hard to leave some players out but it shows what we have in the squad. I was optimistic last season we`d be alright but after the players who have come in, and those who are going to get better and better, I think this year could be better than last, but of course the main aim, is survival first and foremost.