Norwich City 2017/18 Season Preview: Strengths, Weaknesses, Key Man and Predictions

Finally, it's almost here. The summers are getting shorter, but it's still been a solid two months since Championship action action...and by god, we've missed it.  

This season is an important one as the Canaries must push for a playoff place if they are to have any chance of getting back to the Premier League any time soon - time to start having a look at how the setup's looking.

1. Last Season

Ultimately, the 2016/17 Championship season was a poor one for Norwich City when you consider the strength of their squad.

After spending the start of the season in the promotion and playoff places, mismanagement took its toll and questionable team selections saw the Canaries slide down the table and finish 8th.

Consistency will certainly need to be something for new head coach Daniel Farke to focus on if his side are going to push for the playoffs this year.

2. Transfers In

The Canaries have brought in a mixture of Championship experience and German intrigue. Long-term target Mario Vrančić joins Farke's former captain Christoph Zimmermann and Marcel Franke from the 2. Bundesliga, while Marley Watkins and James Husband will bring some extra pace and flair to the Norwich lineup.

Youngsters Angus Gunn and Harrison Reed have joined on loan, while Farke is still reportedly chasing another centre-back and full-back. 

3. Transfers Out

The departures from Carrow Road form the talking point of this summer, with key first team players Graham Dorrans, Jonny Howson and Jacob Murphy all moving on.

Eight players were released and the Canaries may regret losing the experience of Wolves-bound John Ruddy and Ryan Bennett if results start slipping. However, Sébastien Bassong, Youssouf Mulumbu and Kyle Lafferty were much-needed exits.

4. Strengths

The Canaries have successfully kept hold of one of the most exciting attacking midfielders in the division, Alex Pritchard, and he will be ably supported by Watkins, Wes Hoolahan and Josh Murphy.

Timm Klose and Alex Tettey will provide defensive experience and with youngsters such as James Maddison and Ben Godfrey to call upon, Norwich's midfield remains their main strength despite the departures of Howson and Dorrans. 

5. Weaknesses

Despite scoring 85 times last season, the Canaries' strikers remain their weakness. 10 points out of a possible 21 against the top seven put the brakes on Norwich's playoff push and the wastefulness of Cameron Jerome and Nélson Oliveira up top holds much of the blame.

As well as a clinical striker, a new goalkeeper could also be put on the needed list. 21-year-old Angus Gunn has been given the number one shirt and they do still have Michael McGovern waiting in the wings, but inexperience between the sticks may prove a talking point this season. 

6. Key Man

Alex Pritchard. The former Brentford star was criminally underused in the first half of the season but the 24-year-old still managed to score six times in the league from December onwards and contributed to both of David Stockdale's comical own goals at the end of the season.

If Pritchard is given the game time he deserves this year, then Norwich's playoff push will be even stronger.

Potential breakout: James Maddison

7. Predictions

There is still plenty of time to recruit before the transfer window slams shut, but unless defensive depth is strengthened and a clinical striker is signed, even a playoff place may be out of reach for Daniel Farke's men.   

Final Position: 7th