Steve Cotterill believes Norwich’s team spirit has helped establish them as the Championship’s surprise promotion contenders.
The Canaries stormed to the League One title last term, nine points ahead of nearest rivals Leeds.
Just 12 months later they are eyeing the Premier League in what would be a remarkable feat by manager Paul Lambert.
As it stands, Norwich are vying with Cardiff to accompany QPR into the top flight.
They visit Fratton Park tonight looking to secure the points to help achieve that and cap back-to-back promotions.
And Cotterill reckons their impressive progress has been down to the indomitable spirit they have maintained from last season.
He said: ‘Probably at the beginning of the season were they expecting to be up there? No.
‘Having said that, they are a Premier League club-in-waiting.
‘They have – on a regular basis – 25,000 people watching them and I think they have done very, very well there this year.
‘We had a good game up there against Norwich and were fortunate enough that day we got three points.
‘I remember speaking to Paul Lambert about it afterwards and they have gone on and done very well.
‘What they have done, the same as Millwall, the same as Leeds, is carried on their spirit coming up.
‘I think that first season always stands you in good stead for that spirit.
‘If you want to go a little bit further quite often what happens is you change the team around and lose that spirit a little bit and the second season can be more difficult.
‘I am not saying that is going to be the case but I have been at promoted teams before and that is the case quite often.
‘It hasn’t happened at Norwich, though.
‘They have kept that spirit and are quite strong with a decent squad to work with.
‘The manager has done a very, very good job with them.’