Gunn: Spillane one for the future
David Cuffley Norwich City defender Michael Spillane is going back to the future after signing a new two-year contract with the club.And after the deal was completed yesterday, manager Bryan Gunn forecast that the Academy product and Republic of Ireland Under-21 international would be a genuine contender for first team football next season.
Norwich City defender Michael Spillane is going back to the future after signing a new two-year contract with the club.
And after the deal was completed yesterday, manager Bryan Gunn forecast that the Academy product and Republic of Ireland Under-21 international would be a genuine contender for first team football next season.
Spillane, still to complete his season-long loan with Luton Town, has been through extraordinary highs and lows in the space of nine days after helping the Hatters to victory in a Wembley final, then experiencing relegation from the Football League.
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But he and City striker Chris Martin, who was also banished to League Two by former boss Glenn Roeder last August but has a year left on his Carrow Road contract, will be back at Colney at the end of June to resume their careers with the Canaries.
Gunn admitted that the two players would have been recalled sooner had he been manager.
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He said: “At this stage of the season, looking at the squad, players like Michael and Chris might have been important for us.
“There was a window of opportunity to bring them back in January but unfortunately it wasn't one I had.
“But they have had a good grounding under Mick Harford at Luton and playing at stadiums all over League Two.
“They have had the opportunity of regular football all season and playing at Wembley and with a good pre-season they will be in contention next season. Both boys will be given the opportunity to prove themselves as Norwich City players.”
The 20-year-old Spillane, who has played in defence and midfield in his 18 senior games for City, prefers the centre-half role, but Gunn has an open mind over his best position.
He said: “That's something that will have to be nailed down and maybe in pre-season we can look at different options.
“With injuries and suspensions over the course of the season, Michael may have the opportunity to play in different positions. He has played at centre-back, right-back and in central midfield and his versatility will be a good thing for us and for him.”
Spillane told the club's official website: “I'm delighted to sign my contract and stay at Norwich - I came through the City youth system and it's great to sign a two-year deal and carry on here.
“I won't be back until next season, but I'll be looking forward to it. Luton were relegated on Monday so that's at the back of my mind at the moment but I'm really happy to be coming back to Norwich next season.”
Since joining Luton on a season-long deal after Roeder counted him out of his plans, Spillane has made 44 appearances for the Hatters in all competitions, scoring four times, and was in the side that beat Scunthorpe 3-2 after extra time in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final at Wembley earlier this month.
But Luton are also preparing for Conference football after a 30-point deduction effectively condemned them to relegation, confirmed on Monday when they drew 0-0 with Chesterfield at Kenilworth Road.
Spillane said of his time with Luton: “I think it's done me the world of good, I've been playing every week and winning the cup at Wembley was a great experience for me and I've loved my time there.
“I went there to play games, I think I'd only made about 20 appearances at Norwich and this season I've played 44 times for Luton and it's good to play that many games. It was going to be a tough ask from the word go. We tried our hardest and obviously it just wasn't meant to be.
“Chris is doing well, he's scored a few goals including one in the cup final - it was a really good goal and I'm sure he's looking forward to coming back too.”
Spillane, winner of the Republic of Ireland Under-19 Player of the Year award, made his last appearance for City in an FA Cup third round replay defeat at Bury 15 months ago, one of only two outings under Roeder.