Roeder must plug gaps

The size of the rebuilding task facing manager Glenn Roeder was all too clear today as Norwich City went back to work today with one of their thinnest squads of all time.

The size of the rebuilding task facing manager Glenn Roeder was all too clear today as Norwich City went back to work today with one of their thinnest squads of all time.

As the Canaries returned for pre-season training with the opening Coca-Cola Championship fixture at Coventry less than six weeks away, Roeder had no more than 21 players at his disposal.

That list included six teenagers, three of them yet to make a first team appearance and another, striker Kris Renton, whose future is undecided after nine months on the sidelines with a broken leg.

City were returning to training the day after billionaire businessman Peter Cullum said he would pump £20m into the club to provide new players in return for overall control - but the club insisted any potential new investor would need to find £56m to fund a takeover.

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Of the senior players reporting to Colney, there was still no news from club or player on whether central defender Gary Doherty had accepted a new contract or would be back in training - though sources close to the player suggest he has decided to sign.

Doherty's existing contract ran out at midnight last night, and the Republic of Ireland international was linked with a move to the United States in the summer, but Roeder insisted 10 days ago Doherty would not find a better deal than at Norwich.

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The future of midfielder Simon Lappin, with a year left on his City contract, was also unclear after Roeder stated the Scot would find it difficult to force his way into his first team plans.

Roeder has, however, always remained calm and confident of securing new signings and there was hope of a third new face checking into Colney soon after representatives of Rangers' midfielder Alan Gow said he was impressed by his visit to Norwich.

Gow had talks with City last Wednesday but asked for time to think over the move. But it is believed he is keen to move to Carrow Road and that it is simply a case of tying up some loose ends and having a medical.

“We were in Norwich last week and Alan was impressed with the manager and the set-up,” said Gow's agent, Phil McTaggart. “We waited until after the weekend to sort a few things out and we're now waiting to hear from Norwich, but we are looking to take things forward.”

Should Gow have a change of heart, Motherwell boss Mark McGhee has said he is keen to snap up the player.

Midfielder Sammy Clingan and winger Wes Hoolahan have already been added to Roeder's squad, with City given final approval from the FA on Hoolahan's deal and now waiting for the Football League to give the green light to the move.

After goalkeeper Matthew Gilks became the latest departure under Roeder, joining Blackpool as part of the Hoolahan deal, there were still reports in the north-west of interest in midfielder Darel Russell.

Burnley boss Owen Coyle has been casting his eyes in City's direction, with midfielder Darel Russell reportedly a target - and Coyle said yesterday his recent buying spree was not over.

Former Norwich target Martin Paterson, Kevin McDonald, Christian Kalvenes and Diego Penny all moved to Turf Moor last week.

“I haven't stopped there,” said Coyle. “There are other players out there who I'd like to come to the football club.

“I'm still looking for another defender, midfielder and striker.”

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