Neil Lennon insists that his Bolton Wanderers side want to be ‘a top team’ in the Championship next season ahead of the visit of promotion contenders Norwich City on Saturday.
Wanderers, currently sitting safely in mid-table 13 points clear of the relegation zone, host a Canaries side pushing hard for promotion to the Premier League.
After his side’s superb 3-0 win in Cardiff on Easter Monday, Lennon believes the Norwich game will be a test of their aspirations to find themselves competing at the top next year.
“The Cardiff win away from home was our best performance and I was thrilled,” he said. “It is a glimpse of what we want.
“There’s no pressure on us now, all the pressure’s on Norwich to maintain their promotion aspirations. We’re obviously very buoyed by what happened on Monday.
“It’s a great game for us and it should be a great game for the supporters as well.
“We want to be a top team next season so this will be a good litmus test to see where we are.”
Despite a fantastic away result on Monday, Bolton will be happy to be returning to their Macron Stadium home, where they have lost just once since early October.
However, Norwich will provide a stiffer test than most – the Norfolk side sit joint-second in the Championship and are unbeaten in seven games.
Since Alex Neil took over on January 9, the Canaries have recorded 12 wins and just two losses in 17 games.
Lennon believes the 33-year-old former Hamilton Academical player-manager has made a huge difference to their promotion challenge.
“I’ve been aware of Alex Neil for a while,” he said. “Norwich were a little bit hit and miss but he’s steadied the ship. and I think they’ll go up.
“I feel that when we played Norwich in October with Neil Adams they were the best team in the Championship.
“I think they have the best squad in the league but you still have to be able to manage it well and I think Alex is doing a fine job.
“He did great taking over from Billy Reid at Hamilton and was plucked by Norwich. He’s a very good young, forward-thinking coach and he’s lived up to that.”
However, Lennon believes Bolton’s home comforts this season will serve them well as they look to record what would be a surprise victory.
“Norwich are a good side but we’re a tough side to beat at home so we’re looking forward to it,” he added.
“We’ve had some very good performances here at the Macron. We go into this game in very good spirits.”
Main image courtesy of BWFC via YouTube, with thanks.