Paul McVeigh training with Norwich City
David Cuffley Slideshow: Former Norwich City forward Paul McVeigh could be in line for a shock return to the club - after starting pre-season training at Colney today. The former Northern Ireland international was given a free transfer by Luton at the end of last season and is currently without a club.
Former Norwich City forward Paul McVeigh could be in line for a shock return to the club - after starting pre-season training at Colney.
The former Northern Ireland international was given a free transfer by Luton at the end of last season and is currently without a club.
Manager Bryan Gunn also confirmed that goalkeeper Stuart Nelson was not being offered a new contract - and that Cambridge City midfielder Scott Neilson was on trial with the Canaries.
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McVeigh, 31, was a member of City's Nationwide League title-winning squad in 2003-04 and made 235 appearances for the club, scoring 40 goals, before being released in 2007.
He had a trial with Darren Huckerby's American club, San Jose Earthquakes, at the end of last season.
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Gunn said McVeigh's involvement was an “open-ended” arrangement.
He said: “We've got a new face, old face in Paul McVeigh who has joined us for pre-season training. He will be out there with the lads today and he's been involved in the fitness testing in the last couple of days as well.
“It's open ended. Paul and I had a chat during the summer and he told me about his contractual situation. I said 'Come in and join us for pre-season'. There are no strings attached either way but if he impresses not only me, but the other coaches, who knows?
“It gives Paul an opportunity to keep his fitness going. I'm sure he'll be speaking to other clubs and other managers and he's probably got an agent working for him as well. He's living locally, so it does no harm and it helps us in terms of numbers, in terms of the training.”
Keeper Nelson, 27, was also training with the squad yesterday on their first day back after he recovered from an ankle operation, but Gunn said he would not be given a contract.
“We haven't offered Stuart a new deal. We were speaking about this in the past few weeks and it was a delicate situation for me and I have got options on the goalkeeping front. That's what we're exploring now,” he said.
“We wish Stuart all the best in his future career. He came in last year on a one-year deal and was a tremendous back-up to David Marshall and never gave us a moment's trouble but I felt this was an important position that I need to make sure I take my time and fill.
“Stuart has come through his operation in the summer, he's back training now but it's likely he'll sign for another club in the coming weeks as well.”
As reported in yesterday's Evening News, right-sided midfielder Neilson could become another non-League recruit for City if his trial period goes well.
“It's a trial. He's looked sharp and looked fit in the testing. I've not seen him with the ball at his feet at Norwich City yet. That will happen in the course of the next week and then we'll see how it goes,” said Gunn.
“We've got friendly games coming up so it might be an opportunity, if things go well, to get permission from Cambridge City to ask him to play in those games.
“He's known about this over the course of the summer so it looks as if he's been training hard during the summer.
“He's a very quick, busy player who can score a goal. He will take people on, get past people, get crosses into the box and again it just shows you if you do scour the lower leagues, there are players there who might just surprise you and make the step up.”
Gunn expects to add at least two more names to his squad early next week, with a goalkeeper and striker top priority.
He said: “I would say by the beginning of next week we're probably in position to come up with some more faces.
“Number one and number nine - the spaces are still there to fill. Myself and John Deehan and David McNally are working hard behind the scenes to tie up a few of the deals.
“We have done a lot of groundwork during the summer. Now we're hopeful by the middle of next week we'll have maybe one, two, three more faces in place and if we can do that the squad is starting to look solid.”
Last season's casualties, Adam Drury (knee), Dejan Stefanovic (knee) and Wes Hoolahan (ankle), have all returned to training in good shape after recovering from surgery.
“Results on Dejan and Adam have been excellent and it's up to them to carry that on. Wes is fit, raring to go, looking good - typical bubbly Wes,” said Gunn.