Canaries must wait on Hoyte

PUBLISHED: 08:15 18 July 2006 | UPDATED: 09:31 14 September 2010

Nigel Worthington has played down reports linking the club with a move for Arsenal youngster Justin Hoyte. Worthington is an admirer of the 21-year-old right-back, who spent last season on loan at Sunderland, but said reports suggesting a loan deal was imminent were wide of the mark.

By CHRIS LAKEY

Canaries boss Nigel Worthington has played down reports linking the club with a move for Arsenal youngster Justin Hoyte.

Worthington is an admirer of the 21-year-old right-back, who spent last season on loan at Sunderland, but said reports suggesting a loan deal was imminent were wide of the mark.

“He is a player that we know about and that we like,” said Worthington yesterday. “Again, we have talked to Arsenal about the availability of players but they have said they will leave anything until the start of the season before they make a decision. Other than that, there is nothing hard and fast. I have spoken to Arsenal about a number of players, but no one specifically, and we have to be patient.”

Worthington has spoken to Arsenal assistant manager Pat Rice about the availability of fringe players, but the north London club are keen to assess their manpower only when they have completed their own-pre-season schedule.

However, reports suggest that Arsenal may have something of an embarrassment of riches at right back, with Tunisian defender Hatem Trabelsi claimed that Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has offered him a contract and the chance to compete with the likes of Lauren, Emmanuel Eboue - and Hoyte.

Wenger is said to be keen on Hoyte gaining first team experience away from Highbury and, with the Gunners impressed with the way former loan player David Bentley was handled by Worthington during City's Premiership season, Norwich would be high on a list of possible destinations.

But it still means City headed to Scotland last night for a mini-tour without any additions to their squad and with less than three weeks to go before the first game of the Championship season. Worthington had hoped to have new players signed in time for the games against Livingston tonight and Falkirk on Saturday, when his plans for the new season should become more clear.

Having used last week's two friendlies largely as training exercises - fielding different teams in each half of the game - he will now begin to put out a team which is closer to what we can expect to see at Leeds on August 5.

The only players he won't have available are goalkeeper Robert Green and Matthieu Louis-Jean, who will stay in Norfolk to continue their recovery from injury, and Andrew Cave-Brown, who is on Scotland Under-19 duty.

Midfielder Dickson Etuhu has a sore toe after Saturday's friendly at Cambridge United but trained yesterday and will be fit.

Worthington is likely to continue with the 4-3-3 formation he used at Cambridge on Saturday, which reverts to a 4-5-1 when not in possession, with Robert Earnshaw the lone dedicated striker.

“It's something that we've got to look at home and away,” he said. “There were times last season when we were too open and we need to be a lot more compact and solid to give ourselves a chance so it's something we're looking at in pre-season to see if we can take that into the season.”

Both friendlies have been played in stifling heat, and the weather forecast suggests little change in temperature north of the border.

“It is all part of the game, but we take on as many fluids as we can during a game and training sessions to ensure that we deal with the hydration,” he said.

Livingston have suffered mixed fortunes in their pre-season: having beaten Bray Wanderers 4-0, they then finished their Irish tour with a 2-0 defeat to Dublin City and, on Saturday, lost 2-1 to Raith Rovers.

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