Pukki too important for Smith to offload

Norwich City head coach Dean Smith does not fear a Teemu Pukki summer exit

Norwich City head coach Dean Smith does not fear a Teemu Pukki summer exit - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Teemu Pukki will be staying at Norwich City for the Championship crusade, says Dean Smith. 

The club’s player-of-the-year and attacking talisman reportedly wants to stay in the Premier League following a second relegation with the Canaries. 

Pukki’s representative was quoted in the Finnish media earlier in the week indicating the striker is in demand, and keen to remain a top flight forward. 

Smith understands the sentiment but insisted after his side’s opening 4-0 friendly win at Dereham on Friday night Pukki is going nowhere. 

The City chief does expect departures from his fringe squad in due course, but Pukki remains too important for the Championship fightback, after City took up a 12 month option earlier this summer. 

“Well, Kieran Dowell would like to play in the Premier League. I would like to be managing in the Premier League. That is all his agent was saying, I think,” said Smith. “He’ll be staying. Certainly. The squad will need trimming. That is for sure. We have 10 players still to come back in who were away on international duty.

"To carry that many moving forward going into the season is too many but we want to give all the players the opportunity at this stage. The likes of Onel Hernandez and Danel Sinani coming back from their loan spells. Sam (McCallum) played in this game.

"Jordan (Hugill) scored twice. We want them to have the opportunity to show us what they are about. Then we will make decisions on what we need to keep and what we need to move on.” 

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Todd Cantwell was impressive in the opening 45 minutes at Aldiss Park after returning to the club following a loan spell at Bournemouth. 

The Cherries opted not to take up a buy option in their original deal, and the ball is now in Cantwell’s court for Smith. 

“I had a chat with Todd at the end of last season. We had a couple of chats previously,” he said. “There is no point in us continually talking about things.

"I want to see action on the pitch and he has come back, he has trained really well so far. That is what he needs to continue doing and he knows that.”