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5 August 2016

Canaries face Blackburn in season curtain-raiser

ALEX Neil says his Norwich City team can lay down a marker when they launch their Sky Bet Championship campaign at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday (3pm).

The Canaries will return to competitive action for the first time since suffering relegation from the Premier League last term.

Neil, whose squad has been bolstered with the additions of Paul Jones and Alex Pritchard this week, wants his team to make a fast start to the new season.

"The first three points are really important," he told Norwich City TV. "I know we've not got a good record in terms of the first match, and we're looking to change that.

"It would settle the squad down and it would settle the fans down. It would also send out the message to everybody that we mean business.

"I think it's a tough game. The last time we won there a couple of seasons ago was the first time we'd won there in quite a while."

City were beaten 3-2 by Hannover 96 in their final warm-up game last weekend, a result that came after successive wins over Rubin Kazan and Coventry City.

Even though this weekend's match at Ewood Park represents a wholly different challenge to a pre-season friendly, Neil is confident that he knows the level his team are at ahead of their trip to the north west.

"I think I've got a good inclination of where we are. It's now important that they take the hard work they've done and convert it in this match," he added.

"One of the biggest things is getting that mindset change. The fact is that we're in a different league, and we want to attack it and make sure we start well.

"We need to go, be positive and play as well as we can."

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