Norwich City’s Ireland trip does the trick for Wes Hoolahan and top-six aim

Wes Hoolahan speaks to the press after Norwich City's 5-0 win at Cobh Ramblers. Picture: Lorraine O'

Wes Hoolahan speaks to the press after Norwich City's 5-0 win at Cobh Ramblers. Picture: Lorraine O'Sullivan/Focus Images - Credit: Lorraine O'Sullivan/Focus Images

Irish air and new signings have made it a productive week for Wes Hoolahan – despite Norwich City’s squad exits.

Wes Hoolahan proved a popular man as he returned to playing in Ireland. Picture: Lorraine O'Sullivan

Wes Hoolahan proved a popular man as he returned to playing in Ireland. Picture: Lorraine O'Sullivan/Focus Images - Credit: Lorraine O'Sullivan/Focus Images

Fota Island has been home to Daniel Farke’s squad for the second week of pre-season, as they gear up for the big Championship kick-off at Craven Cottage on August 5.

Wednesday’s 5-0 friendly win at Cobh was the opening public outing, with the more familiar surrounds of Lowestoft Town awaiting this weekend.

But it’s a week away in Hoolahan’s homeland joined by new arrivals Mario Vrancic, Marley Watkins, Christoph Zimmermann and Wednesday’s inclusion of Harrison Reed, that has helped get the group up and running.

Wes Hoolahan leads out Norwich City as captain in Ireland. Picture: Lorraine O'Sullivan/Focus Images

Wes Hoolahan leads out Norwich City as captain in Ireland. Picture: Lorraine O'Sullivan/Focus Images - Credit: Lorraine O'Sullivan/Focus Images

And that despite the exits of Graham Dorrans and Jonny Howson.

“Obviously Mario has come in with a few other boys, Harrison Reed has just signed on a season’s loan so I haven’t got to see him yet – but it’s exciting times and the new boys coming in have gelled really well,” said Hoolahan.


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“From Mario’s set pieces against Cobh, they were very good from the corners and getting on the ball, moving it quickly. He can see a pass and it was good to work with him.

James Maddison, right, celebrates his free-kick making it 4-0 for Norwich City at Cobh Ramblers, wit

James Maddison, right, celebrates his free-kick making it 4-0 for Norwich City at Cobh Ramblers, with Wes Hoolahan. Picture by Lorraine O'Sullivan/Focus Images - Credit: Lorraine O'Sullivan/Focus Images

“It’s been brilliant here. I’ve been here with the Irish team and they look after us so well. The pitches and facilities have been great, and it’s nice to come here because it just breaks up pre-season for us.

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“With the new manager coming in, it was always going to be a hard pre-season. But straight away he’s printed what he wants from us, and I think we’ve done that in training.

“The philosophy is a bit different. He wants us to press well and when we’re on the ball, to find space and angles and wants us to move it quickly, which the boys have been enjoying.

“He wants to play football. He’s come from a good background of passing the ball and moving the ball well. And just working with him the last few days, it’s been really enjoyable, the way he wants to play the ball and how he wants his teams to move. Things like that.”

MORE: Wes Hoolahan happy to lap up the attention on his League of Ireland return

City seem likely to keep expectations close to their chest ahead of the new season, but for Hoolahan the goal is as it was 12 months ago.

“Hopefully we’re looking to promotion, getting in the top six – that’s our aim, that’s what we’re looking to achieve,” he added.

“There were a few disappointments last season, so hopefully we can push on this year. We’ve got the new boss coming in, the new structure and a different philosophy, and we’re looking forward to it.

“And we’ve still got a good squad. The majority of the quad from last year are still here and hopefully with a few more additions and new players coming in, we’ll have a great chance.”

• For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey, Facebook @mbjourno and Instagram @mrmichaeljbailey

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