We speak to former Preston North End and Norwich City striker Chris Brown to look ahead to the meeting of the two sides at Carrow Road this weekend.
As part of our chats with ex-players, who have worn the shirt of both the Lilywhites and our opposition, Chris joined Alan Irvine’s PNE from the Canaries and admits that he didn’t have the best playing time in Norfolk – in fact his best playing days at Carrow Road came after he left!
“I was only at Norwich for just over a year and it didn’t go fantastically well, but I would do the same again,” he told iFollow PNE. “I met some unbelievable people; it’s a great family club and I am just gutted it didn’t work for me personally.
“But then I signed for Preston from Norwich and that was probably my happiest three and a half years in football.
“I scored more goals against Norwich, than I did for them! It wasn’t ideal, but it made going back quite enjoyable, especially the one when Phil Brown was manager, we drew 1-1 and I enjoyed that one.”
The game will be one of the pilot fixtures with 1,000 fans allowed in and having commentated on the Lilywhites behind closed doors at Sheffield United a fortnight ago, Chris thinks it will make a difference.
“Even when I am watching the games on the telly, they feel like pre-season,” he continued. “I did the commentary for iFollow PNE at Sheffield United and it was difficult to believe that that was what it was going to be like when the season started, because that felt like pre-season and for it to be the same when it the league with no atmosphere means it is up to the players.
“It is a new thing; it is unheard of. The amount of people who I played with who were terrible in pre-season because they didn’t have that atmosphere or that adrenaline rush before the game with people on the terraces getting you up for it.
“It is a new thing to deal with and it is about who adapts the quickest that will have the most success whilst it is like this.
“A 1,000 people can create a bit of an atmosphere, so it is good news they are testing this out. Hopefully it is a good game for them and everything goes well, nice and safe and it can continue to progress.”
This is only the second league game of the season and the first on the road and the former PNE No.9 says that players are still finding their straps at this stage of the new campaign: “Every first game of the season, after 20 minutes you are all looking around at each other thinking ‘wow’, because nothing compares to it.
“You do have that adrenaline, the nerves beforehand and it does take you a while to get going. They didn’t have that much of a break, so they should be reasonably fit and rearing to go. They should get into the swing of things pretty quickly.
“I was very impressed with Preston [at Bramall Lane], especially defensively – they looked excellent and going into a season that’s what you need. To get out of this division, you need to be good defensively and well-organised and I think Preston have shown that in the last few years. If they can just improve to that next level, then it is there for them.
“Norwich are going to be there or thereabouts at the end of the season, so it is going to be a very tough game, but it will be a massive statement if Preston can go there and take a result.
“And I don’t see why not. They have got the players to do it, they have an unbelievable manager and I am pretty confident that they will get a result. Preston can mix it with these teams, so they shouldn’t fear Norwich at all,” he added.
There is loads more from Chris in the full interview above, as he talks about being the underdog as a North End player and about entertaining the fans on his podcast – check out the video at the top of the page.
You can watch the full 90 minutes live on iFollow PNE from 2.45pm on Saturday afternoon, with Guy Clarke joined by a co-commentator at Carrow Road to bring you all the action – click here now to sign up for an iFollow match pass for just £10.