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Sky Bet Championship: Bolton boss Neil Lennon rates Norwich highly

Neil Lennon is not used to managing an underdog, but he expects Bolton to relish that role on Friday night in what he considers their toughest fixture of the season at Norwich.

The 43-year-old Northern Irishman's only previous managerial experience came during a trophy-laden spell at Celtic, when he admits winning games alone was not enough to satisfy the masses given the Glasgow's giants standing in Scottish football.

However, Lennon's Bolton challenge is an entirely different proposition and only three points at Carrow Road will lift Wanderers out of the Sky Bet Championship's relegation zone following two wins in their new boss's first three games.

Lennon believes the Canaries will test his team with their biggest challenge to date, yet expects his players to rise to the occasion.

"For me they're clearly the best squad in the division," said Lennon.

"They will be clear favourites going into the game tomorrow which will suit us - we'll like that, we'll enjoy that. They're at home so this is probably the most difficult game we'll get in the campaign."

The early signs of the Lennon era have been encouraging and the attacking culture which the Parkhead faithful implored was evident in last Saturday's 3-1 home win over Brentford.

Lennon is realistic enough to acknowledge that will not always be the case at Bolton but sees no reason why his philosophy cannot take shape with Wanderers.

He added: "The only other job I had was at Celtic and we had to attack, we had to entertain, we had to be good in all departments because you were criticised if you won 3-0 - it should have been four or five.

"That was the nature of the beast and that's fine. We want to bring that mentality with us to Bolton; although we are not in this division as dominant as Celtic were, we're certainly better than what we've shown since the start of the season."

One of the attacking forces Lennon had at his disposal in Scotland could be lining up against his former manager on Friday, with Gary Hooper now on Norwich's books.

The 26-year-old is yet to start a league game for the Canaries this term, leading to suggestions Lennon would be keen on a loan reunion, but while the Bolton manager admits he has made enquiries for some players, he has remained tight-lipped on their identities.

"If he comes on and scores he could be in trouble with me," joked Lennon. "He's a fantastic player."

Norwich manager Neil Adams is confident his side's performances will soon be rewarded with victories.

The Canaries are on a five-game winless run in the Championship despite dominating the majority of those games, with a mixture of missed chances and fine goalkeeping leaving them frustrated.

Adams told Norwich City TV: "The spirit is good. The players aren't stupid - they know they're playing well enough to win games, as we've said many, many times.

"They're as desperate as we all are to turn those performances into winning games, as we feel they merit.

"We're eagerly looking forward to Friday night, it's another home game and it's an opportunity to again produce a performance but take the three points."

Headlines for Bolton this week

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  • Sky Bet Championship: Bolton boss Neil Lennon rates Norwich highly

  • Neil Lennon is not used to managing an underdog, but he expects Bolton to relish that role on Friday night in what he considers their toughest fixture of the season at Norwich.

  • Bolton play down rumours of takeover by Thai consortium

  • Bolton have played down talks of a potential takeover of the club by a Thai consortium.

  • Championship: Thailand consortium in talks over potential purchase of Bolton Wanderers

  • A consortium based in Thailand is holding talks about a £40m takeover of Bolton Wanderers after being approached by the Championship strugglers.

  • Championship: Neil Lennon set to gauge Bolton on performances in next two games

  • Neil Lennon admits he will have a much better picture of what his Bolton side are capable of after their next two fixtures with Norwich and Cardiff.

  • Championship: Neil Lennon issues challenge to Bolton's Mark Davies

  • Mark Davies gave a glimpse of what new Bolton boss Neil Lennon will expect from him in his goalscoring cameo on Saturday.

  • Championship: Neil Danns hails impact of new manager Neil Lennon at Bolton

  • Neil Danns has hailed the impact made by Neil Lennon since his appointment as Bolton manager.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Bolton beat Brentford 3-1 in Neil Lennon's first home game in charge

  • Neil Lennon guided Bolton to victory in his first home game in charge as a trio of second-half goals gave the Sky Bet Championship strugglers a 3-1 success over Brentford.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Neil Lennon pleased with Bolton win

  • Neil Lennon toasted a "magnificent" second-half spell which helped Bolton record a victory in the Northern Irishman's first home game in charge.

  • Bolton legend Kevin Davies backing Neil Lennon for success at Macron Stadium

  • Kevin Davies says Neil Lennon is up to the challenge of getting Bolton back into the Premier League.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Brentford boss Mark Warburton expects tough game at Bolton

  • Brentford boss Mark Warburton is wary of the threat Bolton will pose his side in Neil Lennon's first home game in charge on Saturday.

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