No time to lose, says Tony
Paddy Davitt Ex-Norwich striker Tony Cottee insisted Canaries' boss Glenn Roeder will struggle to complete his radical summer squad overhaul. Roeder has already seen reported targets Peter Ramage and Plymouth defender David Connolly join Championship rivals this week as he attempts to steps up his close season makeover.
Ex-Norwich striker Tony Cottee insisted yesterday Canaries' boss Glenn Roeder will struggle to complete his radical summer squad overhaul.
Roeder has already seen reported targets Peter Ramage and Plymouth defender David Connolly join Championship rivals this week as he attempts to steps up his close season makeover. Another target, former City striker Robert Earnshaw, is also expected to move to Nottingham Forest.
Ramage completed a move to QPR while Derby boss Paul Jewell confirmed yesterday Connolly is close to sealing a free transfer switch after undergoing a Pride Park medical.
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Respected Sky Sports pundit Cottee - who made seven appearances in a Carrow Road loan spell back in 2000 - believes Roeder faces a massive task to replace the 15 senior players who departed since the Championship finale at Sheffield Weds.
“The problem for Glenn is he needs to get bodies in,” said the former England hitman. “Because of the sheer number of games in the Championship you need a squad of 25 players just to be competitive. Obviously you have to be realistic and say that depends on whether the funds are available.
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“With Norwich having been out of the Premiership for three seasons now it gets harder every year unless you can attract a sugar daddy. Glenn is a good coach. He well know the division well and the players he can attract - but he'll be competing with a lot of other clubs and it's tough if you only have a limited budget.”
Cottee is adamant Roeder can still wheel and deal at the quality end of the market.
“I don't think as a club they would have trouble attracting players,” he said. “It's a fantastic ground with fantastic support - the envy of the league. I think they were up there again with the average attendances. But, unfortunately, football these days comes down to money. If you only have limited funds you can't hope to compete for the best players.
“I saw them two or three times this past season which was probably not enough to make as good a judgement as the fans. I did see the West Brom game and I felt they played some decent stuff against the eventual champions. First and foremost Glenn did a wonderful job when he came in to get them safe.”
Cottee highlights the success of Stoke, Bristol City and Hull as proof positive Norwich can compete against the cash rich Premiership outcasts.
“It's nice to see what those clubs have done this season,” he said. “It shows you can mix it with a team like West Brom who had the biggest budget - no question. I personally don't want to see just the three who drop out of the Premiership go straight back up. Unfortunately you look at the teams coming down and they will be able to attract the best players. The new television deal makes it increasingly hard. If you are getting £30m for being promoted and then with increased parachute payments maybe £15m if you go down and £10m the following year its hard not to feel that is the way it will go.”
Relegated Derby appeared to have gazumped Roeder's bid to lure Pilgrims' defender Connolly.
The 24-year-old revealed earlier this week he was in talks with five Championship clubs but Rams' boss Paul Jewell is confident he has won the race.
“Paul is available on a Bosman in the summer so we spoke to (Plymouth boss) Paul Sturrock to ask permission to talk to the player,” he said. “We have done that and hopefully we can conclude a deal pretty quickly. He is keen to come and fits the bill as he is 6ft 1in, athletic and hungry. Paul is a fighter, and that is what I want to bring, as well as quality, which he has got.”
Liverpool-born Connolly joined Argyle as a trainee and has made 177 senior appearances since his first team debut in 2001.
Former Norwich defender Marc Edworthy is one of a quartet of players released by Derby. Edworthy moved on a free transfer from Carrow Road in 2005 and helped the Rams reach the Premiership in his second season. The experienced defender made nine senior appearances back in the top flight and featured in the embarrassing final day home defeat to Reading.
Meanwhile, Coventry chairman Ray Ranson is poised to revive his club's interest in Wolves outcast and one-time Norwich target Freddy Eastwood.
Wolves had previously pulled the plug on a possible January transfer window switch to the Ricoh.
“Would we be interested in signing Eastwood? Yes,” said Ranson. “We've got several bids on the table for players. It's an ongoing daily process and needless to say the fax machine is working at the Ricoh. I'm speaking to clubs and agents all the time.”