City keeper set for first taste of loan action
- Credit: DENISE BRADLEY
Young goalkeeper Sam Blair is set for his first loan move away from Norwich City, following his summer involvement with the Republic of Ireland U21s.
The 18-year-old is joining Isthmian League Division One North side Bury Town at step four of non-league, with the Suffolk club hoping to seal the deal in time for a friendly against Ipswich Town on Tuesday.
Bury have provided a starting point for young Canaries keepers Daniel Barden and Joe Rose in recent years and Blair, from Aylsham, is set to follow in their footsteps this season.
The teen was given a professional deal in January, signing until 2023, having been a regular and worn the captain's armband for the under-18s.
Blair has been with City since his under-10 days and was part of the FA Youth Cup group in 2019-20 which included Andrew Omobamidele, Josh Martin and Tyrese Omotoye, who have since progressed to the first team.
He made his U23 debut towards the end of last season and was called up to the Ireland U21 squad twice, through having an Irish grandmother, and was named on the bench for four friendlies but is yet to earn his first cap.
Bury boss Ben Chenery, speaking to the Bury Free Press, said: “They (Norwich) are very positive about him, but they are happy about all their goalkeepers and they seem to have a handle on producing really good ones.
“He will be of a similar ilk to the other two and we look forward to working with him.
“Again, we thank Norwich City hugely for the partnership and putting the trust in us with their young goalkeepers.”
Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope, who has seven England caps but missed the Euros through injury, got his career back on track with Bury following his release from Ipswich as a youngster and earned a move to Charlton.
The Canaries have bolstered their goalkeeper stock further in recent days, with the addition of youngsters Dylan Bery and Jayden St Paul.
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That follows Barden heading to Livingston on loan, with Archie Mair and the fit-again Aston Oxborough likely to head out on loan as well this season, with U23 keepers Jon McCracken and Rose also in the mix.
Barden was needed at first-team level last season but Tim Krul and Michael McGovern have been joined by Angus Gunn returning to City following promotion to the Premier League, being signed from Southampton.