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Norwich City’s 22/23 Opening Day XI at Cardiff with Cantwell and 4 signings

Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

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 Canary debuts.

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

Norwich will hope that Smith will follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Daniel Farke to make an immediate top-flight return to the club. The German led the Canaries to second-tier titles in the 2018/19 and 2020/21 seasons, but neither Farke nor Smith could avoid relegation in 2020 or 2022.

Photo by Lawrence Griffiths/Getty Images

Smith may now have to do without some of the Carrow Road stars who contributed to the club’s 20th-placed Premier League finish and final stint in relegation. TEAMtalk, for one, report that Canary Hierarchy is preparing to sell Max Aarons along with several organizations.

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Mathias Norman has also already left Norwich as his option of buying the 26-year-old from Rostov to avoid relegation has been hung. The Norway midfielder moved to Cairo Road for £1.5m for the 2021/22 campaign, with The Athletic reporting a £11m buyout clause at the time.

Smith has few options to replace Norman, Aaron and any other player leaving Carrow Road. So, with that in mind, what might Norwich’s XI opening day look like when the Norfolk natives take the curtain off the street in Cardiff this July?

Photo by Robbie J. Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

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

Tim Krul will likely stay at Norwich next season to help the Canaries win a third championship title together. He protected the net at Carrow Road in both victories under Farke, and the 34-year-old also recorded five clean sheets in 29 Premier League games in the previous stint.

Brandon Williams (RB): Norwich may re-sign the borrower before opening day

Brandon Williams spent the 2021/22 season on loan from Manchester United at Norwich, and may now return to replace Aaron at right-back. The Sun reports the Red Devils have slapped £10m worth on the 21-year-old versatile player, who regularly seeks senior football.

Grant Hanley (CB): Norwich captain will tour Cardiff on day one

Grant Hanley helped Norwich to two championship titles under Farke, and will now target his third under Smith next season. After completing new terms last summer, the Canaries captain is under contract at Carrow Road until 2025 before appearing in 36 games.

Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

Ben Gibson (CB): Norwich retain Burnley indebtedness after last promotion

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

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

Norwich are interested in bringing Matthew Sorinola back to England this year after a stint in Belgium with Union SG. This is according to TeamTalk, which notes that the 21-year-old is now set to leave Stade Joseph Marianne, 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 first campaign at Norwich in April with an ankle injury. The £8m Summer signing from Werder Bremen returned from four games to play just 14 minutes against Aston Villa as he reached 25 top-flight games for two goals.

Photo by Newcastle United / Newcastle United via Getty Images

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

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

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

Kenny McLean made 30 appearances in the Premier League last season and is now entering the final year of his contract this summer. But Smith will look to keep the 30-year-old at Carrow Road as the Scottish midfielder covers the ground well and fights bravely.

Todd Cantwell (LM): Blackburn aiming to stay and go to Cardiff on opening day

Norwich extended Todd Cantwell’s contract in April until 2023 after he helped Bournemouth secure promotion while on loan. Now, The Sun notes Blackburn is willing to loan the 24-year-old because the Cherries won’t buy him. But Smith’s promotion is unlikely to rival him.

Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images

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

Norwich are interested in bolstering their attack with Aston Villa striker Archer. It is according to TEAMtalk, who notes that Smith is a big fan of the forward that Preston North End also wants to go back on loan, when he scored seven goals in 20 games through 2022.

Timu Pukki (ST): For being the top scorer in each of Norwich’s last four seasons

Timu Pukki has been Norwich’s top scorer in all competitions over the past four seasons with 30, 11, 26 and 11 goals respectively. Smith will now expect the 106-cap Finland striker to have equally lethal runs in the championship’s next stint with 29 and 26 in 2018/19 and ’20/21.

Therefore, with the championship fixtures out now and Norwich visiting Cardiff on the opening day of the 2022/23 season, Pukki could look to line up with Archer as he, Hayden and Sorinola make their Canary debuts, while Williams will likely be full-time. Start your career with Norwich.

In other news, ‘of course’: Sky reporter drops transfer claim about ‘world-class’ star Spurs & Villa

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