Cambridge boss hoping to ‘convince’ City legend Hoolahan to sign up
PUBLISHED: 14:58 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:01 18 June 2019
Cambridge United could be about to attract a lot of interest from Norwich City fans, with Canaries legend Wes Hoolahan set to train with the U’s during pre-season.
The former Republic of Ireland international spent last season at West Brom but is not getting a new contract with the Championship side.
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire reported that the 37-year-old playmaker - who is thought to still be living in Norfolk - will link up with the League Two side and former Norwich assistant manager Colin Calderwood, who has now confirmed the situation.
"Through various means I found out he was at this moment in time thinking about trying to play next year," the United boss said. "It's close to his home, but he also needs to enjoy it and think about whether he will."
He continued: "He is coming in the first two weeks with us. Rather than everyone thinking he's signed, it's just a starting point.
"The intention would be to convince him to sign."
Hoolahan scored 54 goals in 352 games for City between 2008 and 2018, earning a celebration fund-raising game alongside Russell Martin which was held at Carrow Road last month.
The Irishman still looked sharp during that game, effectively a testimonial following an emotional farewell a year earlier, having made 10 appearances for West Brom - although all six of his league appearances were as a substitute, only being included on the bench once in the final 16 games of the season.
His legendary 10 years at Norwich included two seasons in the Premier League during Chris Hughton's reign, when former Nottingham Forest boss Calderwood was assistant manager.
The Scot took over as head coach at Cambridge in December and steered United clear of relegation from the Football League, finishing 21st and six points clear of the bottom two, but is now looking to build a stronger squad.
Speaking to the Cambridge News, Calderwood added: "It's his experience of coming from higher levels and the Premier League and international football, that's the attraction to me and I want to have that around the environment.
"It's a terrific name for us but only if everything falls into place a little bit, but I'm hoping that they do!"
Cambridge are due to host Premier League side Leicester City on July 23 during their pre-season friendly schedule - and then Ipswich Town on July 27.
Hoolahan revealed in a podcast chat with Talk Norwich City towards the end of last season that Ipswich boss Paul Lambert had tentatively enquired about a reunion, only to be told there was no chance.
Cambridge also have a Norwich link in head of football Ben Strang, who was head of academy recruitment at Colney between 2014 and 2016 before returning to the U's.