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Norwich City will visit Cardiff City on the opening day of the 2022/23 Championship season when boss Dean Smith can offer Isaac Hayden and Cameron Archer their Canaries debuts.

Smith’s men will see in the new campaign at the Cardiff City Stadium on July 30, before the Canaries welcome Wigan Athletic to Carrow Road on August 6. Encounters with Hull City, Huddersfield Town and Millwall then follow through the Norfolk natives’ first five fixtures.

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Norwich will hope Smith will follow in his predecessor Daniel Farke’s footsteps to score the club an instant top-flight return. The German led the Canaries to the second-tier title in the 2018/19 and 2020/21 seasons, but Farke nor Smith could avoid relegation in 2020 or 2022.

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Smith may now have to make do without some of the Carrow Road stars who contributed to the club’s 20th-place Premier League finish and relegation last term. TEAMtalk, for one, report the Canaries hierarchy are preparing to sell Max Aarons with a host of outfits keen.

Mathias Normann has also left Norwich already as their option to buy the 26-year-old from Rostov hung on avoiding relegation. The Norway midfielder moved to Carrow Road for the 2021/22 campaign for £1.5m, with The Athletic reporting the £11m buy clause at the time.

Smith has some options up his sleeve to possibly replace Normann, Aarons and any other player who leaves Carrow Road. So, with that in mind, what could Norwich’s XI look like on the opening day when the Norfolk natives raise the curtain on the road at Cardiff this July?

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Tim Krul (GK): Dutchman still #1 at Norwich ahead of opening day visit to Cardiff

Tim Krul will likely remain at Norwich next season and look to help the Canaries win a third Championship title together. He guarded the net at Carrow Road in both wins under Farke, and the 34-year-old also recorded five clean sheets in 29 Premier League games last term.

Brandon Williams (RB): Norwich can re-sign loanee ahead of opening day

Brandon Williams spent the 2021/22 season on loan at Norwich from Manchester United, and could now return to replace Aarons at right-back. The Sun report the Red Devils have slapped a £10m price tag on the versatile 21-year-old, who wants regular senior football.

Grant Hanley (CB): Norwich captain to visit Cardiff on opening day

Grant Hanley helped toward Norwich’s two Championship titles under Farke, and will now target his third under Smith next season. The Canaries captain is under contract at Carrow Road until 2025 after penning fresh terms last summer, before then featuring in 36 games.

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Ben Gibson (CB): Norwich retained Burnley loanee after last promotion

Norwich retained Ben Gibson for £8m last July after the centre-half contributed to winning the Championship while on loan from Burnley. The 29-year-old had an instrumental role in Farke’s plans in 2020/21, so Smith will hope he can now get the same from the defender.

Matthew Sorinola (LB): Norwich interested in summer swoop for Union SG star

Norwich are interested in bringing Matthew Sorinola back to England this year after a term in Belgium with Union SG. That’s according to TEAMtalk, who note the 21-year-old is ready to now leave the Stade Joseph Marien but Blackburn, Swansea and Reading are also keen.

Josh Sargent (RM): American to return from injury for second Norwich season

Josh Sargent missed the end of his debut campaign at Norwich after aggravating his ankle injury in April. The £8m summer signing from Werder Bremen returned from four games out to play just 14 minutes against Aston Villa, as he reached 25 top-flight games for two goals.

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Isaac Hayden (CM): Newcastle loanee to make Norwich debut on opening day

Norwich have already secured the loan signing of Hayden from Newcastle for the 2022/23 season. The Canaries have also confirmed that the move features an obligation to buy the 27-year-old, who is returning from knee surgery, agreed on performance-related criteria.

Kenny McLean (CM): Scotland star to stay at Carrow Road into last year of contract

Kenny McLean amassed 30 appearances in the Premier League last season and now enters the final year of his contract this summer. But Smith will likely look to keep the 30-year-old at Carrow Road as the Scotland midfielder covers the ground well and battles on valiantly.

Todd Cantwell (LM): Blackburn target to stay and visit Cardiff on opening day

Norwich extended Todd Cantwell’s contract until 2023 in April, as he helped Bournemouth gain promotion whilst on loan. Now, The Sun note Blackburn are keen to loan the 24-year-old as the Cherries will not buy him. But Smith is unlikely to let him go to a promotion rival.

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Cameron Archer (ST): Norwich interested in Aston Villa striker

Norwich are interested in strengthening their attack with Aston Villa striker Archer. That’s according to TEAMtalk, who note Smith is a big fan of the forward that Preston North End also want back on loan, after he scored seven goals in 20 games with them through 2022.

Teemu Pukki (ST): Top-scorer in each of Norwich’s last four seasons to stay

Teemu Pukki has been Norwich’s top-scorer in the last four seasons in all competitions with 30, 11, 26 and 11 goals respectively. Smith will now hope the 106-cap Finland striker has a similarly lethal run in the Championship next term as in 2018/19 and ‘20/21 with 29 and 26.

So, with the Championship fixtures now out and Norwich visiting Cardiff on the opening day of the 2022/23 season, Pukki could line up beside Archer as he, Hayden and Sorinola make their Canaries debuts, while Williams could possibly begin a full-time career with Norwich.

The post Norwich City’s possible opening day XI at Cardiff with Cantwell plus 4 signings appeared first on HITC.


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