New-look City to take shape

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

DAVID CUFFLEY

City's double Dutch date should enable them to “sow the seeds” of Coca-Cola Championship success, according to manager Peter Grant. The Canaries today set off for Holland, where they will play two pre-season games, against AGOOV Apeldoorn tomorrow (4pm CET) and FC Zwolle on Wednesday.

City's double Dutch date should enable them to “sow the seeds” of Coca-Cola Championship success, according to manager Peter Grant.

The Canaries today set off for Holland, where they will play two pre-season games, against AGOOV Apeldoorn tomorrow (4pm CET) and FC Zwolle on Wednesday.

Both matches are being played in the Sportpark de Strokel at Harderwijk in Eastern Netherlands, close to City's training base.

Grant plans to take 22 to 24 players, his travelling squad bolstered further yesterday by the signing of 20-year-old Chelsea midfielder Jimmy Smith on loan until December 31.

Goalkeeper Matthew Gilks and forward Darren Huckerby will also travel despite not featuring in any of City's warm-up matches so far.

French midfielder Julien Brellier should shrug off the knock on his thigh he suffered at King's Lynn on Wednesday and be included in the party.

And, after three friendlies in the space five days, Grant reckons he is getting a clearer picture in his mind of how his side will look when the Championship campaign starts at Preston in three weeks' time.

“A lot of people are getting their football legs, as we call it. We're getting closer all the time,” he said. “I think it's important for these guys. Now we're set to take the group to Holland and we're starting to nail things down a little bit.

“I will definitely be taking 22, maybe 24. I'll make my mind up once I see how the injuries are.”

He said getting away as a group would give his squad more concentrated preparation for the new season.

“I think you get the time to work. You work on certain things, whether you're midfielders, front players, defenders. You're together a long time. I think it's important we sow the seeds there. There will be a lot of walking and talking and a lot of work getting done, a lot of practice put into the right things in the four games we have left.

“There are still things we've got to do, things we are changing.”

Apeldoorn finished bottom of the Eerste Divisie last season and managed only 29 points from 38 games, but Grant still expects a stern challenge from both clubs.

He said: “You always gain something. Wigan played Zwolle and won 2-0, but I've heard it was a very tough game.

“I've been to Holland many, many times and it's always tough. They're way above with their fitness levels and they always put you under pressure. Amateur teams start at the same level as our first division here, so the standard is very good. Zwolle, not so long ago, were in the top division so we know we're going to be under the cosh and they've played a lot of top teams.

“It doesn't matter what opposition you're playing against, you're looking at clean sheets, you're looking at how your defenders are working, the mistakes they're making and how you can eradicate them. We're looking at midfield, trying to get the balance right and getting the strikers to score goals. You're looking for all these things.”

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