Keepers to fight over No 1 shirt
CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City fans can expect a battle royal during the season, when the club's top two goalkeepers begin fighting over the number one shirt.
By CHRIS LAKEY
Norwich City fans can expect a battle royal during the season, when the club's top two goalkeepers begin fighting over the number one shirt.
It's advantage Paul Gallacher at the moment, with regular number one Robert Green still recovering from the groin injury which shattered his World Cup dreams.
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But while Gallacher is odds-on to start the new Championship campaign - particularly given his excellent form in the last few games of last season - the big question is what will manager Nigel Worthington do once Green is fit again.
Green is reportedly making better than expected progress but was absent when City players reported back to training this week and is unlikely to be ready for action before October.
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When he does, he's likely to find Gallacher in his way, and the Scottish international, who only recently signed a two-year contract at Carrow Road, is asking for only one thing - is a fair crack of the whip.
“Whoever is performing should get the place,” said the affable 26-year-old. “I think last season Robert was consistent and deserved to keep his place ahead of Darren (Ward) and myself. If you are doing a job I think you should be there.
“At the end of the season I had a few games, did well and I hope I can maintain that form, bring it into this season and hopefully get the nod. That's all you can ask for - a fair crack of the whip.”
Gallacher originally moved south from Dundee United back in the summer of 2004, but he found himself behind Green and Ward in the pecking order and has made only four first team appearances - all at the back of the last season when Green had a minor injury and was rested to ensure, as much as anything, that his World Cup squad place was not jeopardised.
Gallacher's patience was rewarded as he showed the qualities that has brought him seven international caps - and earned himself a new contract offer.
However, Gallacher knows that there are no certainties in football.
“The manager could bring in another goalkeeper nobody knows,” he said. “Robert's situation could be short term - we don't know how quickly he will get fit or whether there will be a delay. We will look at that situation when it happens and I just have to work and get the nod and do myself justice and do well for the club.
“That's why I came here initially, albeit two years ago. I have not played as many games as I would have liked but I got the opportunity. I thoroughly enjoyed it, being part of such a massive club with a fantastic fan base.”
That taste of Championship football was enough to persuade Gallacher that it was right to stay.
“It's when you get a taste of that and you think it could happen again this season,” he said. “Robert's situation has now changed with the injury, but I am just looking forward to pushing for that number one jersey and hopefully I can get it.
“Four games - I waited a long time for that, but you just have to bide your time. I have to be selfish over the four games, thinking about my performances, and I thought I did well.”
The last of his Scotland caps came in Estonia a little over two years ago, but Gallacher's mind is currently on club rather than country.
“As a youngster it is a dream to play for your country, and I have been lucky enough to do that, but I have got to just think about first team football and that's Norwich and I want to do that first and foremost,” he said.
Gallacher knows that, good as his performances were, they came at the end of a miserable season for City, but insists there is better to come.
“The squad of players we have got, if you look at that compared to most, we should be challenging,” he said. “We are disappointed, as were the fans, and we understand how frustrating it must be, but you can't get any more frustrated than the players and the management staff. We want to rectify that and hopefully this year push for promotion - hopefully I will be part of that team.”