HIS team goes into this afternoon’s hosting of Norwich as clear underdogs but Phil Parkinson is hopeful a lack of expectation outside the camp can work in Wanderers’ favour.

Visitors Norwich City head to the University of Bolton Stadium after a surprise defeat at Preston, allowing Leeds to take over at the top of the Championship.

And with the two teams vying for top spot providing Bolton with their next two opponents, few will be tipping them to take reward from their forthcoming matches.

But, free from the pressure of expectation, Parkinson is relishing the chance to prove the doubters wrong.

“No one is expecting us to get anything against Norwich,” he said. “There’s no expectancy in the next two games, apart from among ourselves, to reproduce how we played down at St Andrew’s.

“But what a bonus it would be if we can come out of these two games in touching distance of the teams above us and maybe bring a couple of teams back towards us and the bottom three.

“We’ve got a decent run after that, so it’s a massive week for us, all hands on deck.”

Parkinson expects the Canaries to be smarting at that midweek defeat and out to make amends while his own team, buoyed by beating Birmingham, will have to get physical in order to gee up the home crowd.

“The supporters are so important, they’re going to have to be patient at times, like the players will because we know Norwich are going to have a lot of the ball, “ he added.

“If a lot of that possession is on the edge of their own box then we’re not too bothered about that, but we’ll have to be patient and press at the right time and when we do we’ve got to be aggressive.

“The only pressure from me is for the players to play as we set out to do in training.

“Against Leeds and West Brom we came off the pitch knowing we’d done well but not got the result, hopefully we can do well and get the result.”

The guest of honour at this afternoon’s game will be former captain Kevin Nolan, making his first return to Bolton since hanging up his boots as Notts County player-manager last year.

‘Nobby’, a mainstay of the first team for more than a decade, will be lending a hand at today’s half-time draw.