City go with what they've got, for now
DAVID CUFFLEY The Canaries are “99 per cent certain” to head for Scotland on Monday without any new signings, Nigel Worthington has admitted. City step up their pre-season preparations with a friendly against Cambridge United at Abbey Stadium on Saturday, then travel north of the border 48 hours later for matches at Livingston next Tuesday evening and Falkirk a week tomorrow.
The Canaries are “99 per cent certain” to head for Scotland on Monday without any new signings, manager Nigel Worthington admitted today.
City step up their pre-season preparations with a friendly against Nationwide Conference side Cambridge United at Abbey Stadium tomorrow (3pm), then travel north of the border 48 hours later for matches at Livingston next Tuesday evening and Falkirk a week tomorrow.
But the likelihood of taking the High Road with any new recruits on board was slim, said Worthington.
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“We are trying to make noises at our end with regard to people we are interested in but other people are not playing ball,” he said.
Asked whether he was resigned to making the Scottish trip without new recruits, he said: “At the moment, I think it's 99 per cent certain that will be the case.”
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At least he has three more senior players at his disposal for the Cambridge match with striker Robert Earnshaw, forward Ian Henderson and club captain Craig Fleming all recovered from knocks that ruled them out of the 4-0 win at Fakenham on Wednesday.
Winger Robert Eagle, who suffered a thigh strain at Fakenham, and defender Matthew Halliday, who has stitches in his forehead, will not be risked.
“We will put two teams out again over the course of the two halves to give everybody a good run-out,” said Worthington.
First-team coach Martin Hunter said it was too early to determine what City's first-choice line-up should be when the Coca-Cola Championship programme kicks off at Leeds in three weeks' time.
He said: “We are giving the opportunity for the whole squad to get some match practice and as we go further down the friendlies, we'll look to finalise our starting eleven for the Leeds game, but that's a way off yet.
“The manager will have the biggest say in that so we'll just have to see how they cope and develop in the next two weeks.”
He said City's double training sessions were continuing.
“It's hectic and it needs to be go get us up to the mark for the first game in August,” said Hunter.
“We've worked on several things on the training round and we're very pleased that they had a good go at it at Fakenham. Some things they've done extremely well, some things they're rusty with but you would expect that at this time of the season.”
Cambridge manager Rob Newman has promised City a wake-up call as he and another former Canary, his assistant Tony Spearing, prepare for a make-or-break campaign of their own.
“It won't be a training session at our place, far from it,” promised Newman. “It will be much tougher than Fakenham, I promise you - my team will be up for it. Anybody who knows myself and Tony knows we are passionate about our football and passionate about winning and we won't lay down and die for anyone.
“We will have a good go at them - I've seen the weather forecast and it's going to be another hot one so it won't be a stroll in the park for either team. It will be a day for holding the ball and it will be interesting for me to see how well we do that against a side like Norwich.
“The result is not what is important, it's the performance that counts. We would like to win, but if we can put up a good performance it will bode well for the season ahead.”
For Newman it offers a rare chance to pit his wits against a Championship outfit - and he's relishing the opportunity.
“I'm really looking forward to it,” said Newman, whose 249 appearances for City included all six UEFA Cup matches in 1993. “We want to see the Norwich fans and Cambridge fans together on a good day and a good occasion.
“On a personal level it will be fantastic because both myself and Tony had good careers at Norwich and hopefully the fans appreciated us.”
Tickets are £13 for adults, £8 for over-60s and students and £5 for under-16s.