Grant: The season starts now

Norwich boss Peter Grant warned his squad they were running out of time to impress him ahead of the Championship kick off at Preston.

By PADDY DAVITT

Norwich boss Peter Grant warned his squad yesterday they were running out of time to impress him ahead of the Championship kick off at Preston.

Grant will attempt to fine tune his Deepdale battleplan amid fitness concerns over strike trio Darren Huckerby (groin), Chris Brown (broken nose) and versatile veteran Dion Dublin (back).

The Canaries' chief also admitted City's final pre-season warm win over Dutch Eredivise outfit Vitesse Arnhem at Carrow Road had given him plenty of food for thought.


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“I've got a rough idea of the shape of the team,” he confirmed. “Who the eleven is we will decide over the course of the week. I've said that to the players. The season starts now. That's as far as the prep goes.

“We've looked at it and assessed the players as to what their strengths will be. I will have a look at Preston and see what they've got to offer and will try and put a team together that's more than capable of beating them.”

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Grant revealed combative French midfielder Julien Brellier had strengthened his case for inclusion with an impressive cameo against the Dutch.

“He's got a good intelligence,” said the City boss. “He reads the game well and breaks things up. I think he does that very well. And once he gets his fitness up - that's just over 45 minutes plus a period at King's Lynn - so there's a lot of games to be played yet.

“I think you can see and assess that once he's fully fit he can be a major asset for us and yet again it's competition through that place in the middle of the pitch. We've got good quality players in there who all want to play and they've all got different attributes and we've got to pick the best team to go to Preston.

“That's what we've been training hard for. We've got to see how the legs are - the likes of Julien because he's not had a lot of football, the likes of Darel who has not had a lot of football. We will assess as we go along this week and hopefully we can keep them all fit in training.”

Grant hinted after the Dutch win his first choice full backs are primed to earn an attacking licence in the Championship this season. Former skipper Adam Drury notched his second of the pre-season campaign with a long range strike just before the hour mark.

“That's two goals he's got now and I think it suits him a bit better because he gets forward more,” said Grant. “People know how I want to play, with Jon (Otsemobor) one side and Adam on the other. We want them to get involved in the game, we want them to get forward - I want them to be adding their weight up there. And I think that's very, very important you do that because if you just expect your strikers to score the goals it's difficult for them.

“I'm very pleased. I thought there was some good stuff in the game. We stepped up a level again with a different type of team. They move the ball very quickly and are technically very good. At times they made it difficult for us and at others we made it difficult for ourselves.”

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