May 22 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Norwich City’s senior squad fly to Austria tomorrow for a week of training followed by their first pre-season game – in what manager Chris Hughton admits will be something of a fact-finding mission.
The Canaries returned to work at Colney on Monday after a break of nearly seven weeks, giving Hughton, assistant Colin Calderwood and first team coach Paul Trollope their first chance to work with the players.
But getting away from home soil for a more intensive training schedule will give the new boss a better look at the squad he has inherited.
He said: “My first impressions are good impressions but I expected that. I came into the job knowing the team, knowing what had been achieved and how they achieved it. I knew there was a good spirit among the players and that’s what I’ve seen from day one.
“I have a good opportunity next week because we go away for a week’s training abroad, so there will be a big squad that travels and, of course, it gives me the opportunity to get to know all of them.”
Midfielder Tom Adeyemi, who was on crutches at the end of last season because of an injury he suffered in a reserve game, is the only likely absentee from the travelling party.
“At the moment Tom is probably two or three weeks away, but apart from him – he really needs to be here – I’ll more or less take everybody,” said Hughton.
“David Fox missed training today but he’ll probably be training on Monday. That’s something very, very small, minimal, and it’s only Tom that’s got the effects of the injury picked up last season.”
New signing Jacob Butterfield will travel but is not ready to resume full training as he recovers from the knee injury he suffered with Barnsley.
“Jacob picked up an injury last season so he’s going to be a few weeks behind everybody else but he’ll come with us next week and he’ll be able to do some work with us as well,” said Hughton, who is not unduly worried by the continuing legal dispute over his other summer capture, former Rangers defender Steve Whittaker.
“All of that side I’m leaving to administrators at the club,” he said. “I’m just pleased to have him on the training pitch, he’s a good addition for us.
“I can only deal with the football side but I do understand it’s an issue on people’s minds.”
Striker Grant Holt, armed with a new three-year contract, had trained well, said Hughton.
“I would say from what I’ve seen in the last five days, he’s trained well and he looks happy,” said Hughton. “I think for him it was a big weight off his shoulders that we got to the right and sensible conclusion that has left both parties happy, and you can see that in him.”
The Canaries face German side Hertha Berlin next Saturday at Gleisdorf in Austria, their first pre-season match before returning for six domestic warm-up games, starting with the trip to Celtic on Tuesday, July 24.
With the first Premier League fixture at Fulham now five weeks away, Hughton is excited at the prospect of returning to top-flight management.
“There have been a lot of mixed emotions. I really enjoyed the season and being at Birmingham, so it wasn’t an easy decision,” he said. “But the draw of coming here after the successes of last season was too good an opportunity to turn down.
“It’s been fairly full on from the moment I took the job but in any job you do you have to put everything into it. You have to be grateful for what you’ve left behind but your focus has to be on the job.
“It’s a massive draw to go back to the Premier League. In our profession, if you’re striving to be managing at top level, the Premier League is where you want to be. For me, whether it’s the best league in the world is very much open to question with the qualities of La Liga and so on but it’s certainly the most exciting league in the world and absolutely where you want to be. This opportunity came and it’s a wonderful opportunity for me.”