City prepare for toughest examination

Michael Bailey Norwich City's pre-season preparations arrive at the showpiece event tonight with the visit of Tottenham Hotspur and their Premier League superstars at Carrow Road.

Michael Bailey

Norwich City's pre-season preparations arrive at the showpiece event tonight with the visit of Tottenham Hotspur and their Premier League superstars at Carrow Road.

Having concentrated on building up fitness and shaking off cobwebs from their summer breaks with a friendly against Gorleston and a low-key tour of Sweden, Norwich manager Glenn Roeder will expect his side to step up a few gears as one of the Premier League's big boys come to town.

Carrow Road sold out days ago with City fans eager to see some of Roeder's new signings for the first time, but another draw is the chance to see some of the English top flight's most high profile stars in action at close hand.


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While the Spurs' strike pairing of Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov have been strongly linked with moves to Liverpool and Manchester United respectively over recent weeks, both are still officially with the north London club and should make an appearance at Carrow Road.

In fact, Spurs have submitted a dossier of evidence to the Premier League of what they consider to be supporting evidence for their complaint against United's pursuit of the Bulgarian international.

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Croatian midfielder Luka Modric, one of the stars of this summer's European Championships, will be one new Spurs signing on show after joining for £15.8m from Dinamo Zagreb, while 19-year-old Mexican Giovani dos Santos has joined from Barcelona. Brazilian international goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes will be the man looking to keep out City's own new signing Arturo Lupoli, after his main rival, England star Paul Robinson, moved to Blackburn at the weekend for £3.5m.

One other focus of attention from the Carrow Road faithful on tonight's opposition is likely to be former Ipswich Town striker Darren Bent, who cost Tottenham a cool £16.5m last summer.

Spurs finished 11th in the Premier League last season, having struggled around the relegation zone before Martin Jol was controversially replaced by former Seville manager Juande Ramos, who led their recovery.

As well as helping to propel Spurs up the Premier League table, Ramos took them to the last 16 of the Uefa Cup and their first piece of silverware since 1999, beating Chelsea at Wembley to win the Carling Cup in February.

Spurs are unbeaten so far this pre-season and enjoyed a relatively easy tour of Spain earlier in the month as part of their own preparations for the first Premier League outing of the season, at Middlesbrough on August 16.

t Tonight's game is a sell-out - but can be seen live on Setanta, kick-off 7.45pm

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