Crook: City need to get into winning habit
Michael Bailey Ian Crook believes winning has taken on a far greater importance during Norwich City's current pre-season preparations. The Canaries are five wins from five after returning from their tour to Scotland on Sunday and will look to continue their confidence building against Dereham Town at Aldiss Park tomorrow night.
Ian Crook believes winning has taken on a far greater importance during Norwich City's current pre-season preparations.
The Canaries are five wins from five after returning from their tour to Scotland on Sunday and will look to continue their confidence building against Dereham Town at Aldiss Park tomorrow night.
Although City's first team coach is well aware Norwich would have been expected to beat most of their opposition, Crook wants the Canaries to build a winning mentality as quickly as possible following last season's Championship relegation.
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Crook said: “Pre-season results usually aren't important; you are just looking to bed your new lads in and results are secondary.
“But in saying that, the one thing we need to start doing after last season is we want to get used to winning. Losing becomes a habit and we don't want a losing mentality going into the new season.
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“There's still a lot of things to work on but we've come away with three wins and hopefully that will start to build some confidence and help the new people bed in quicker too.”
Crook will take charge of a City XI against Ridgeons Premier side Dereham, as well as all of City's reserve fixtures next season, it was confirmed yesterday.
And with a Manchester United XI the first side to visit Carrow Road since the summer break on Saturday, Crook expects to have a young side on show at Aldiss Park.
“I've got the boys at Dereham on Wednesday and I'm looking forward to that,” said Crook. “It's another game for us to get some fitness into the legs and get some of the younger lads up against men.
"We've got a game Wednesday and a game Saturday, and we need to make sure particularly at this time of the season that we're not flogging a dead horse come the weekend.
“The Manchester United game has the higher profile, and although we don't know the make-up of the side yet, it will predominantly include first year scholars and young professionals.
“It's a good chance to get as many 90 minutes into the boys as we possibly can.
“At the end of the day I want to be able to go to the gaffer and say, if any of this group is required for the first team, they are physically ready.”
With Declan Rudd called into England U19 European Championship squad and Michael Theoklitos pencilled in for his debut against United, former City youth product Arran Lee-Barrett has joined on trial and is expected to be between the sticks tomorrow night.
Crook is hoping it will be a night for City's bright young things to shine - and maybe prove they will be up for a bigger role in the Canaries' League One campaign, as well as Norwich's re-election to the 18-fixture Football Combination only helping their cause.
“Definitely; probably it's been accentuated by getting relegated and obviously we're not able to be as active in the transfer market as we probably could have been if we'd been in the league above,” admitted Crook.
“So we've had to have a little look to bring on some of those young players and the best way to do that is through a regular reserve campaign.
“Youth football to first team football is such a big gap, if we can help bridge that it has got to be a good thing.”
The days of a first, reserve and youth team group working separately at training are long gone, with all City's professionals working together.
“The groups will work closely together and, also, training with the first team squad is of huge benefit to some of those boys,” said Crook. “Rather than them just getting game time against the senior professionals, they will be working with and against older opposition in training as well.
“Obviously the day before a game we will work with the players set to be involved individually, but certainly the rest of the time all of the professionals will be training together.”
The Canaries' new professionals, such as Dario Dumic, David Stephens and Tom Adeyemi, have all had a slice of the first team pie so far in pre-season, carrying on from their impressive FA Premier Academy League and Youth Cup performances.
“They had a good year last year, of that there's no doubt,” said Crook. “They've come in, been involved in the three games up in Scotland and they've fitted in well and certainly not looked out of place.
“With young boys you will get peaks and troughs, you've got to expect that, but they've been excellent and done well.”