Forster to face Norwich City in Newcastle friendly
Norwich City's players' player of the year Fraser Forster admits he will have mixed emotions when he returns with Newcastle for Saturday's Carrow Road pre-season curtain raiser. The 22-year-old became a cult hero during a successful loan stint last season, which culminated in a League One championship winners' medal.
Norwich City's players' player of the year Fraser Forster admits he will have mixed emotions when he returns with Newcastle for Saturday's Carrow Road pre-season curtain raiser.
The 22-year-old became a cult hero during a successful loan stint last season, which culminated in a League One championship winners' medal.
City chief Paul Lambert recruited ex-Everton keeper John Ruddy over the summer after being frustrated in his attempts to bring Forster back to Norfolk, but the youngster will relish the chance to say a proper goodbye.
“I'm looking forward to going back,” he said. “It'll be a weird experience to go back and play against the lads - I've got a lot of friends down there now. It'll be a new experience, but I'm sure it'll be a good one.
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“I hope I get a good reception, but I think they're a little bit disappointed I didn't get to go back for whatever reason. That's just the way it goes.”
Forster insists he owes a debt of gratitude to Lambert and his coaching team after being plucked from Newcastle's reserves.
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“Obviously it's about playing games and getting experience, which is what I've done,” said Forster, who kept 21 clean sheets during City's march back to the Championship. “I was lucky to have such a good season last year at a big club like Norwich. I was delighted with the way that went, and I'm back here for now seeing what's going to happen. I've got great memories of the place - they're a great bunch of fans. The coaching staff did a lot for me, and Paul Lambert was fantastic to work for. I'm delighted to be going back to see him and the other coaches.”
Forster has been heavily linked with a loan move to relegated Premier League outfit Burnley, with Clarets' boss Brian Laws publicly declaring his interest. However, the Hexham-born stopper's immediate priority is putting pressure on Toon number one Steve Harper ahead of United's top flight return.
“There's a great team spirit, and everyone is really together and looking forward to the new season, which can only benefit us,” he said. “For me, I've said all along it's about playing games, and that's what I want to do. I want to be out playing first team games and getting experience, but obviously it's up to the manager, and I've got to respect his decision.
“If I go out on loan again, that'll be brilliant. If I can go out and play another 40 games it can only make me a better keeper, and benefit the club in the long run.
“I just want to play football, especially after last year. When you've had the feeling of playing in a winning team, that's really what you want to do.”
Laws hinted last week Forster was set for a season-long loan switch until Harper picked up a minor injury - but the Clarets' boss was yesterday linked with a �1m raid on his former club for Sheffield Wednesday 'keeper Lee Grant.
“We understand Newcastle's predicament and they can't let Fraser leave until they have assessed that situation,” said Laws.
“We are waiting to see how that develops but clearly we may have to look at alter natives to strengthen our goalkeeping area with the new season less than three weeks away.”