Clingan aims for big double
Sammy Clingan has twin targets for the season - boosting Northern Ireland's World Cup qualifying campaign and helping Norwich City gain promotion. The 24-year-old midfielder is back in World Cup qualifying action for his country against the Czech Republic at Windsor Park tomorrow night.
Sammy Clingan has twin targets for the season - boosting Northern Ireland's World Cup qualifying campaign and helping Norwich City gain promotion.
The 24-year-old midfielder, ever present in Glenn Roeder's side since his free transfer from Nottingham Forest, is back in World Cup qualifying action for his country against the Czech Republic at Windsor Park tomorrow night.
The following day, he will put down roots in Norfolk by moving out of a hotel and into a new house.
Clingan rounds off the week on Saturday at Plymouth where the Canaries will be looking for their first win of the season.
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However, his thoughts at the moment are centred on overcoming the Czechs, ranked eighth in the world.
Clingan is aiming to get points on the board following the 2-1 defeat by Slovakia in Bratislava on Saturday.
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He said: “It was a difficult weekend after the defeat on the opening day but we are grateful to have another game so soon afterwards.
“We have analysed our mistakes and now we have to put things right. We have trained well today and the players are buzzing again.
“The Czech Republic have a big reputation but we are looking forward to the game as it is at Windsor Park.
“The atmosphere is always better when the game takes place under lights. It is an old ground with the fans close to the pitch.
“The crowd is always bouncing and there is a tremendous noise. They are like a 12th man. It is great to walk out there and I cannot wait to face the Czechs.”
Meanwhile, Clingan believes City's impressive fan base makes them a club who should be in the Premier League sooner rather than later.
He said: “The supporters are brilliant as we get crowds of nearly 25,000. Even last season when they were threatened with relegation they stayed loyal.
“There is good ambition at the club, they've been in the Premier League before and I am relishing the challenge.
"I want to get Norwich promoted - that's my main aim. We've had three draws and one defeat but hopefully our first win is not far away.”
Ex-Canary Gary Holt has backed Clingan to play a major part in City's push for honours.
Holt believes City have a squad good enough to emulate the team of 2003-04 that made it to the Premiership as champions - and says his one-time Nottingham Forest team-mate can play a big part in their success.
Holt, 35, who now plays for League Two leaders Wycombe Wanderers, reckons Clingan is a better version of his former midfield partner, Phil Mulryne.
“Sammy is a far better player than me,” said Holt, who played alongside Clingan for two seasons before leaving for Wycombe in 2007.
“I am not just saying that. Maybe my workrate he can't match, or he might get close to, but as a footballer he is a far better player than me, I don't mind admitting.
“He can do things with a ball and pass a ball far better than I ever could. I think he is a better version of Phil Mulryne, if truth be told. He's a better passer of the ball, a better distributor of the ball. Phil was a good player in his own right, but I think Sammy is a very technically gifted player who can cut open defences at will.
“I spoke to Sammy before he signed and I spoke to him before the Blackpool game on the Friday night and watched him and spoke to him after the game and I am really pleased for him and I hope he can go on and have a great career here.”
Holt still lives in Norwich and follows the club's fortunes closely - including the comings and goings over the summer - and believes manager Roeder has built a team capable of making a challenge.
“Very much so,” said Holt, back at Carrow Road on Sunday as part of the club's Historical Trust reunion event. “They play some great football. Glenn Roeder and his staff have got them playing some tremendous football. In the game against Blackpool they played them to death off the park, but you need the cutting edge and that's what I'm talking about - we had Darren Huckerby. Many a game here and away from home he turned on its head. Without that we might have drawn, whereas he was that cutting edge you need. But they're not easy to find and you have to pay them a lot of money to get them.”