Norwich boss Dean Smith not planning wholesale changes as he plots promotion bid

The Norfolk club have suffered a second relegation from the top flight in three years

By Press Association Published: 7 May 2022 - 9.00am

Norwich head coach Dean Smith is confident the squad does not need wholesale changes as he looks to plot a swift return to the Premier League next season.

The Canaries suffered a second relegation from the top flight in three years after losing at Aston Villa last weekend, making Smith’s return to his former club one to forget.

The writing had long been on the wall for Norwich, who axed Daniel Farke in November as the German paid the price for a wretched opening run which ultimately proved too big a deficit for Smith and assistant Craig Shakespeare to overcome.

From being favourites for the drop, Norwich will now find themselves back among the leading contenders for another promotion push, having previously won a second Sky Bet Championship title under Farke.

Highly-rated full-back Max Aarons is one player likely to depart during the summer window.

On-loan duo Brandon Williams and Billy Gilmour will return to their respective parent clubs, with Norway midfielder Mathias Normann also not expected to be looking to extend his temporary stay from Russian side Rostov.

Jordan Hugill, Onel Hernandez, Daniel Sinani and Sam McCallum are, meanwhile, all set to head back to Norfolk following loan spells away in the Championship, which will provide Smith with additional options for the challenges ahead.

“Do I believe that we have got a squad that is capable of fighting for promotion? Yes,” Smith said.

“There might be some additions to that, and some changes, but not wholesale changes.

“I just feel as a football club, we know the Championship and we know how to get out of it.

“We have got to continue to do what we believe is the right way and the right things to get out of there.”

Smith told a press conference: “As a football club, we came up together to try and stay in the league, but we haven’t managed to do that.

“Then we have to go down together, but the fight is there to make sure that we can come back up again first time.”

Having taken Villa up through the play-offs in 2019, Smith also has plenty of his own experience to count on as the Canaries aim to bounce straight back once again.

“I learned very quickly in management that you can’t be too high or too low and I think I’ve got a good balance of that,” Smith said.

“It was disappointing, there was anger on Saturday, having got relegated for the first time as a manager, but you have to move on quickly, to plan forward.

“You can’t change what has happened, but what you can do is learn and improve.”

Norwich host West Ham on Sunday looking to stop a run of three straight defeats.

The Hammers were knocked out of the Europa League semi-finals by Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday evening, missing out on the chance to reach a first European final in 46 years – and with it a shot at the Champions League.

Smith admits it is difficult to predict if David Moyes’ men will carry that heartbreak on to Carrow Road.

“David is a good friend of mine and he has done an unbelievable job at West Ham,” Smith said.

“We will see on Sunday whether it is a good time to play them or not, or whether they are smarting.”

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