July 18 (Reuters) - Norwich City captain Grant Hanley says transitioning from Premier League underdogs to Championship contenders will be a challenge the club needs to quickly prepare for as they look to hit the ground running next season.
Norwich became the first Premier League club to suffer relegation this season after a 4-0 defeat by West Ham United last week, drawing the curtains on a single campaign in England’s top flight.
The Canaries are rooted to the foot of the table, having won just five league games, and Hanley, 28, has urged the club to show some steel as they prepare for the second tier of English soccer next season.
“It’s difficult to go from being the underdogs and not getting results every week to having the pressure back on you again and everybody expecting results,” Hanley told the club’s website. “We need to start preparation now for next season.
“The players need to remember that they owe the club so much for giving them a chance to play on this stage, so now it’s about showing a bit of pride and character for the supporters to show that it matters and they care.”
Injuries have restricted Hanley to 15 league appearances this season and the defender is hoping to make more of an impact in the new campaign.
“Surgery went well so I’m happy with that. I’ve got to be cautious over the next few weeks. I’d like to hope I could return not too far past the start of next season,” he said. (Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru. Editing by Gerry Doyle)