Grant lays down Dutch challenge

PUBLISHED: 11:20 21 July 2007 | UPDATED: 10:25 14 September 2010

CHRIS LAKEY

Norwich City's pre-season preparations step up a gear today - with Peter Grant challenging his players to prove they deserve a place in his starting line-up on the opening day of the Championship campaign.

Norwich City's pre-season preparations step up a gear today - with Peter Grant challenging his players to prove they deserve a place in his starting line-up on the opening day of the Championship campaign.

The Canaries, after three matches against non-league opposition, play Dutch First Division side AGOVV Apeldoorn in the opening match of their mini tour of Holland this afternoon.

And the City boss says it's time to lay the foundations ahead of the opening league match at Preston in three weeks' time.

“You go and work on certain things, whether it's your midfield, your front players, your defenders - we are together for a long time and I think it is important we sow the seeds there,” he said.

“There will be a lot of walking and talking there and a lot of work getting done, a lot of practise putting in the right things over the next four games. There are still things we have to do and things we are changing.

“It doesn't matter what opposition you are playing, you are looking at clean sheets, you are looking at hw your defenders are working, mistakes they are making and how we can eradicate them. You are looking at your midfield, trying to get the balance right, and at strikers to score goals and be in the right place at the right time.”

Grant took a squad of 20-plus to Holland, including new signing Jimmy Smith and Darren Huckerby, who has yet to feature because of a slight groin injury.

Huckerby trained on Wednesday, but was not risked in that evening's friendly at King's Lynn - and may have to wait until the second match in Holland, against FC Zwolle next Wednesday, for his first taste of pre-season action.,

“I am not going to take chances on strains,” said Grant. “I would rather them get full 'training legs' back on again, but, God willing he will be fit.”

Smith adds competition to a midfield shorn of Dickson Etuhu, with Makr Fotheringham staking his claim with a busy performance at The Walks in midweek.

“I thought Fozzy was excellent,” said Grant. “He has worked his socks off during the summer, there is no doubt he has got ability. I have never questioned his ability - his enthusiasm is sometimes his biggest problem because he runs all over the pitch, but I thought hew as terrific against Lynn.

“His fitness levels were way above everyone else and he has proved that with the tests he has done through the summer. His fitness tests have blown everybody away, he has been top drawer.

“It is a case of challenging for positions in there. They know that a place is vacant in there, they know there will be changes made in there and it is up to them to try and grab it.”

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