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Opposition Lowdown: Allan Russell’s Norwich City

Reading’s final game of 2022 sees the Royals travel to East Anglia to face Norwich City. Join us as we take a look at the opposition.

Burnley v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship - Turf Moor Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images


Norwich were relegated from the Premier League last season, finishing bottom of the league, 16 points adrift of safety. They have yo-yoed between the top flight and the second tier over the last four seasons, but claimed the title in both of their last two campaigns in the Championship (2018/19, 2020/21).

They currently sit in 10th position in the Championship on 35 points, two places above Reading, who are on the same number of points as the Canaries. Their poor recent form led to the sacking of manager Dean Smith, with Norwich seeing three losses in their last four games.

The two sides faced off at the Select Car Leasing Stadium in October, with Reading rescuing a 1-1 draw after a 60th-minute equaliser from midfielder Jeff Hendrick.

The boss

Alan Russell and Steve Weaver (caretakers): Former Aston Villa manager Dean Smith was sacked as Canaries boss on Tuesday, following the side’s 2-1 loss to Luton Town, with Norwich only seeing three wins in their last 13 games. Alan Russell and Steve Weaver, who were both part of Smith’s coaching team, have taken temporary charge of the team.

Russell is a former striker who joined Norwich earlier this year as a set-piece coach, having previously worked for Gareth Southgate’s England set-up as a striker coach. Weaver has been with Norwich since 2017 and became head of football development last November.

Former Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner and ex-West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Bruce are two of the names rumoured to be on Norwich’s radar to take over as their next manager.


Midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who is on loan from Aston Villa, has been ruled out of Friday’s game with a knee injury. Midfielder Todd Cantwell is also expected to miss out as he continues to recover from a groin injury. Defender Sam McCallum missed Tuesday’s game with against Luton with illness and may return in time for Friday’s fixture.

Norwich City v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship - Carrow Road
Norwich City’s Aaron Ramsey
Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images

Expected line-up

Gunn, Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Giannoulis, Gibbs, Sara, McLean, Hernandez, Pukki, Sargent

Key player

Teemu Pukki: Finnish striker Pukki joined Norwich in 2018, signing on a free transfer after his contract with Danish side Brondby expired. He started his career back in Finland for his hometown club KTP but secured a move to La Liga side Sevilla in 2008. He returned to Finland, signing for HJK in 2010, before spells in Germany with Schalke, Scotland with Celtic and then Denmark with Brondby.

Pukki’s first season with Norwich was the most successful with the Finn winning the Championship player of the season award and claiming the golden boot after scoring 29 goals, as Norwich won the league and secured promotion back to the Premier League.

He has gone on to score 86 goals for the Canaries, with 22 of them in the top flight. Lethal in front of goal, Pukki is also Finland’s all-time top goalscorer, having scored 37 goals for his country.

One to watch

Adam Idah: Striker Idah is a graduate of Norwich’s youth academy, having joined the club from Ireland at the age of 16. Having excelled in City’s youth team, he made his professional debut for the club in August 2019 and has gone on to make 59 appearances, scoring eight goals.

Idah has one Premier League goal to his name after scoring in Norwich’s win against Everton in January this year. The Irishman has represented the Republic of Ireland at every level from under-16s upwards and made his full international debut in September 2020. The 6ft 3 striker is a physical presence up front whilst also exhibiting a strong turn of pace.