Newcastle boss offers Norwich fans hope
Michael Bailey Newcastle United boss Chris Hughton may have given Norwich City a glimmer of hope that Fraser Forster will be allowed out on loan next season. The 22-year-old has played a vital role in the Canaries' renaissance under manager Paul Lambert, helping to ensure League One promotion at the first attempt as well as the third tier title since joining on loan from United at the end of August.
Newcastle United boss Chris Hughton may have given Norwich City a glimmer of hope that Fraser Forster will be allowed out on loan next season.
The 22-year-old has played a vital role in the Canaries' renaissance under manager Paul Lambert, helping to ensure League One promotion at the first attempt as well as the third tier title since joining on loan from United at the end of August.
Newcastle have also achieved promotion at the first time of asking - for them, to the Premier League - as well as topping 100 points on the way, and Hughton's preparations for next season may see the Magpies' highly rated keeper spend another season away from St James' Park.
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United's other young stopper, 22-year-old Tim Krul, was given the nod for Newcastle's final game of the Championship season, at Queens Park Rangers on Sunday, and with Hughton seeing the Dutchman as back-up to number one Steve Harper, it could leave Forster free to continue his development at another club for 2010-11.
Hughton said: “Tim has taken over from where Harps has been all season. He pulled out some big saves today.
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“We have won this division because we are the all-round best team.
“Tim is a very confident goalkeeper. We are fortunate that we have two very good young keepers. Tim lacks first team experience, but he showed today that he is a quality player.
“I expect he'll be knocking on my door over the summer asking for more first team games next season. He is an ambitious lad and we rate him highly.”
Krul's position could leave Forster, who's on a lengthy deal, playing third fiddle at United.
The Magpies clearly believe Forster has a long-term future at St James' Park although the Hexham-born 'keeper has been recently linked with a move to Scottish Premier League champions Rangers and has also attracted interest from the Premier League trio of Arsenal, Tottenham and Stoke.
All of which could mean another season-long loan is the best option for Hughton - although the Canaries would almost certainly face stiff competition to secure Forster for another temporary stint.
The goalkeeper - already voted the Players' Player of the Year - is in the running for City's Player of the Season Award, with the Barry Butler Memorial Trophy to be presented before the final game of the season, against Carlisle at Carrow Road on Saturday.
A clean sheet against Greg Abbott's side from Forster would be his 19th of the campaign - and equal the club record set by Kevin Keelan in 1974-75, albeit from a 42-match season.
But despite Carlisle's season fizzling out in recent weeks, Abbott is hoping his side will be party poopers.
“Now we can go to Norwich, hope Delia burns her pies and spoil their party,” smiled the United boss, after their 1-1 weekend draw with Walsall at Brunton Park.
Defender Evan Horwood, who may play his last game for the club at Carrow Road, added: “It will be party time down there and we probably won't be able to see the pitch for all the balloons, but we will go there and give our all.”