Fleming tees up Magpies

DAVID CUFFLEY World Cup star Michael Owen and his Newcastle United team-mates will provide the opposition for Norwich City club captain Craig Fleming's testimonial match.


World Cup star Michael Owen and his Newcastle United team-mates will provide the opposition for Norwich City club captain Craig Fleming's testimonial match.

It was confirmed today that Glenn Roeder's Premiership side will take on the Canaries at Carrow Road on Wednesday, July 26 (7.45pm).

A second home friendly has also been arranged against newly-promoted League One side Northampton Town on Saturday, July 29 (3pm).

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With the testimonial match being staged just 10 days before the Coca-Cola Championship campaign kicks off, Fleming said there was no danger of his special night being just a light summer workout.

Despite the game falling in between the Magpies' two legs of their crucial InterToto Cup match they have agreed to field a strong line-up from a squad that currently includes top names such as Shay Given, Titus Bramble, Kieron Dyer, Celestine Babayaro, Nolberto Solano, Shola Ameobi, Emre, former City loan player Scott Parker and England superstar Owen.

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“That's the deal - they have taken it as a pre-season friendly so it will be a serious contest involving both first-team squads. It's our first home pre-season game and it won't be just one of those exhibition-type matches,” said Fleming, preparing for his 10th season with City after making 370 appearances and scoring 12 goals since signing from Oldham for £600,000 in 1997.

“I'm delighted that Newcastle United are coming. They should be a big attraction and it will be great to see Michael Owen here, especially if he's done well in the World Cup. They've got some world-class players there and it will hopefully be a competitive and thoroughly entertaining match.

“I'm very pleased. It's taken a lot of hard work from people at the club and on my committee.

“It's taken a while to sort out but I wanted first and foremost for the evening to be a really special occasion, a night for the fans to savour and something that I can look back on with fond memories for the rest of my life when I finish playing.”

Fleming played in all three of City's games against the Magpies during the 2004-05 season, when they took four points from their two Premiership meetings.

The Canaries fought back from 2-0 down to earn a point at St James' Park, later losing 2-1 in a Carling Cup tie on the same ground.

City gained revenge with a thrilling 2-1 win at Carrow Road as they mounted a late but unsuccessful bid to avoid relegation.

“They were good matches and they were very close. The home game was a very, very good game and the two away games were tight,” said Fleming.

City boss Nigel Worthington is happy to have secured top-quality opposition just before the August kick-off.

He said: “It's a super game for Norwich City as part of our pre-season build-up and I'm really delighted for Craig that he will have first-class opposition for his testimonial.

“Hopefully Carrow Road will be packed for the game and the night will be a positive one for Craig as well as for us as we shape up for the start of the league season in August.”

Worthington said he was also pleased with the game against John Gorman's Northampton.

“We wanted to secure a varied pre-season programme of friendlies that provided competitive games against British teams. Northampton are a good side who have just won promotion so I'm sure they'll give us a tough battle and this will be another important game as we prepare for the rough and tumble of league football,” he said.

Tickets for both home friendlies went on sale at noon today. They are available at the ticket offices at Carrow Road and the Canary Store, Castle Mall, or by calling 0870 444 1902. Season ticket-holders will have their seats held for both matches until close of business on Wednesday, June 14, after which they will also go on general sale.

Away supporters hoping to attend should contact their own club's ticket office.

Seats for Fleming's testimonial are £15 for adults and £10 for concessions (senior citizens, students and under-16s) in Jarrold Stand centre seating and the City Stand lounges. All other seating is £12 for adults, £7 (senior citizens, students and under 16s) and £3 for under-12s.

For the match against Northampton, seats in the City Stand Castle and Cathedral lounges will be £10. Tickets for the County and 59ers lounges and areas J, K, L and M in the Jarrold Stand are £9. Other seats in the City Stand and Jarrold wings are £8 for adults, £4 for senior citizen/students and £1 for under-16s. All other areas are £6 for adults, £4 for senior citizens/students and £1 for under-16s.

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