Norwich City's last three EFL campaigns have resulted in promotion, and that will be the aim of manager Alex Neil again in Season 2016/17.A wretched end to their 2015/16 Premier League term saw Norwich pick up three wins after the turn of the year, condemning them to 19th and a place in the Sky Bet Championship.
But when the Canaries get knocked down, they get up again. A trio of unsuccessful campaigns in recent years have been quickly forgotten, with the club immediately bouncing back from the drop.
In 2008/09, Norwich dropped down to the third tier of English football for the first time in 49 years, suffering relegation from the Championship.
And in the first game of their Sky Bet League One campaign, the club hit a new low. A 7-1 home thumping by East Anglian rivals Colchester United was the catalyst for change.
Paul Lambert was the visiting manager that day, and Norwich believed he was the man to take them forward. After replacing Bryan Gunn, the Scot stepped into the Carrow Road dugout a fortnight later and guided his new side to a 5-2 triumph over Wycombe Wanderers.
A poor September followed, but a 16-game unbeaten run between October and February saw City pull clear at the summit. A perfect January included a bit of revenge against the U’s, romping to a 5-0 win in Essex.
Norwich had been relegated at Charlton Athletic the season prior, but three points at The Valley in April secured an immediate return to the second tier, and they wrapped up the League One title a week later with two games to spare.
Runaway champion in League One, would consolidation be in the Championship be enough for Paul Lambert and his troops? It seemed not.
The season started with varied results, leaving them firmly in the Play-Off mix, but it was from November onwards when Norwich really began to make their charge.
A 3-1 loss at Cardiff City at the end of October left the Canaries fifth and nine points behind the Bluebirds at the top, with 14 games played.
From their next 32 games, Norwich would lose just another three – sealing second place and a second successive promotion.
After three seasons in the Premier League, Norwich found themselves back in the EFL in 2014/15 and made a bright start in their bid for a rapid return.
Indeed, they sat top of the division at the end of September, but as 2015 drew to a close, they had slipped outside of the coveted top six places.
In came a new manager, Alex Neil, and he got the engine running again. Like in 2010/11, Norwich would lose just three more games in the run-in, and climbed to third on an eventful final day.
That handed them a Play-Off semi-final against sworn enemies Ipswich Town, who they'd beaten in the previous four derby fixtures. That run came to an end at Portman Road, but a 1-1 draw set City nicely up for the return leg.
A memorable 3-1 win in the second leg sent the Yellows to Wembley to face Middlesbrough – one of the trio of clubs to have got one over on Norwich during the back-end of the season.
But that April loss was soon forgotten. Two goals in the opening quarter of an hour, from Cameron Jerome and Nathan Redmond, once again saw Norwich promoted.
The story is yet to be told – but who'd argue against the Canaries flying high in the Championship once more? Their season starts away at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday 6th August 2016.
Read more: #FixtureReleaseDay – EFL Season 2016/17 fixtures announced
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