Pattison exit leaves just two Roeder signings
Chris Lakey Bryan Gunn insists everyone will be given a fair crack of the whip as another remnant of a previous regime completed his widely touted move back to South Africa.
Bryan Gunn insists everyone will be given a fair crack of the whip as another remnant of a previous regime completed his widely touted move back to South Africa.
Matty Pattison - the first signing made by Gunn's predecessor Glenn Roeder - has swapped life on the fringes of Gunn's City squad for Mamelodi Sundowns in his bid to gatecrash South Africa's World Cup squad next year.
It means just two players - Wes Hoolahan and Dejan Stefanovic - remain from the Roeder era, which ended less than seven months ago, and there are no guarantees that they will remain at Carrow Road for too much longer.
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Two Nigel Worthington signings and four by Peter Grant are still at the club, but Gunn - who has signed 12 members of the current squad to full-time contracts - says there is no room for favouritism.
“The guys that are in now and the ones that have been here in the past and the young players that have come through the system and signed their contracts - they are all in contention,” said Gunn.
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The City boss has publicly refused to write off Darel Russell's position as a squad member, even though it is almost certain he will be leaving the club at the earliest opportunity.
And should Hoolahan's good form prompt transfer interest then Gunn may struggle to keep the little midfielder if City's valuation is met - while Stefanovic's return from injury is being hindered by a lack of match practice, and increasing competition for a starting place.
But with more than 20 players ready, willing and able to turn out in the yellow and green, Gunn can look on at his team building with satisfaction.
“I would say we're almost there - we have got good numbers now,” he said. “We have got ourselves into a situation now where we can have practice matches of 11 versus 11 and we've still got players over, which wasn't the case before, there was always a need to drag in players from the youth squad.
“But we have got a good squad now, we have got a very competitive squad, there is competition through every area of the pitch and again that is something that we have probably not had enough of over the last couple of seasons.
“But certainly this season the board have given me that opportunity to go out and get that competition and it's one of those nice problems to have as a manager. It is down to picking 11 players from a big squad now and it's a good problem to have.”
Pattison hopes his decision to link up with PSL side Mamelodi Sundowns will attract the attention of Bafana Bafana coach Joel Santana.
“I'm looking forward to the challenge and hopefully it'll mean I can get a place in the World Cup squad,” he said. “I just wanted to give myself the best chance possible of playing in the World Cup. I don't look at it as a step down because it means that I'll be seen by the people who pick the Bafana squad, which wasn't happening when I was playing in England. I'm very proud to be South African so it would mean everything to play for them.”
Pattison has not ruled out returning to England in the future after starting his career as a youth player at Newcastle.
“I'll miss playing in England but I'm not going to rule out going back one day,” he said. “I just wanted to give myself the best chance possible of playing in the World Cup and I think coming to South Africa is the way to achieve that. I've watched some of the football in South Africa and it's a very good standard - I didn't expect it to be so quick but that should suit my game having played in England. Sundowns have seven or eight players in the national squad so I'm hoping that I can add to that very soon.”