Shackell on Gunn's wish list
David Cuffley Manager Bryan Gunn has confirmed he would love to see Jason Shackell back in Norwich City colours next season - but admits it is likely to hinge on Championship survival.
Manager Bryan Gunn has confirmed he would love to see Jason Shackell back in Norwich City colours next season - but admits it is likely to hinge on Championship survival.
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy has confirmed he wants to offload the 25-year-old defender just eight months after signing him from the Canaries for a reported �1m, as he revamps his squad for Premier League football.
Shackell, back at Carrow Road on loan since mid-February, has been in outstanding form at centre-back and has played all 13 games since his switch from Molineux.
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But any chance of a permanent return to Norwich could be scuppered if the Canaries drop into League One after Sunday's final league match of the season against Charlton Athletic at The Valley (1.15pm).
“Jason is a player who has come into our squad and grabbed the opportunity,” said Gunn. “He was playing very little football with Wolves at the start of the season and after our visit there in February, I thought it was an opportunity to bring somebody back who knew the club and he's put in some impressive performances.
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“If it's the case that Wolves let him go, there will be a lot of clubs interested in Jason because the form he's shown since he's been with us has been excellent.
“From our point of view, once Sunday is out of the way, we will be looking at the opportunities we can offer next season.
“Certainly Jason is a player I admire, he knows Norwich City, he's comfortable at the club here and he's done himself no harm at all in the way he's gone about and shown people he is a good centre-half. We'll have a look at things come Sunday evening and make decisions from there.”
There looks certain to be another big turnover of players at Colney in the summer, whoever is manager and whichever division City are playing in next term, but the likely strength of the squad depends so much on Sunday's result, with City's only hope of survival a win at Charlton, combined with defeat for Barnsley at Plymouth,
Said Gunn: “Ideally, you would want the nucleus of your squad in place through the month of June in order to give you some stability when you come back into pre-season training in July.
“Whether that will be the case, Sunday will determine a lot in terms of what happens with that, and that's really why we can't make any decisions about other contracts and possible purchases until we know the outcome.”
Shackell is not the only current City loan player with an uncertain future at his own club, with forwards David Mooney, Alan Gow and Alan Lee among those given a new lease of life since arriving at Carrow Road.
“We've given them an opportunity to come and get first team action,” said Gunn. “Some of them have taken the opportunity and impressed me and the staff and the fans. They have done themselves no harm in proving they are quality players but Sunday will be the determining factor in where we go with that - the financial implications.
“We are hoping we will be talking about Championship football. That's the focus we all have, the staff and the players, because they want to play in front of 25,000 in the Championship at Carrow Road and that's something they will have to have in their minds on Sunday. A victory is the only way we are going to be able to achieve that.”
Shackell is one of three players under treatment 48 hours before the trip to Charlton, along with winger Lee Croft and full-back Jon Otsemobor.
“Jason has continued to have the tightness in his hamstring which he's had for a couple of weeks,” said Gunn. “He had it in the build-up to the Ipswich game, got through that, and had another attack of it on Monday night, so we'll monitor him and hope he can be available for the game. He's still with the physios.
“Crofty is struggling at the moment. Jon Otsemobor had a dead leg after the game but we're hopeful he will be all right with that.”
Full-back Adam Drury should be available to face Charlton for the fourth time this season if required.
“Adam had a sore throat last weekend and missed training and had a bit of infection as well,” said Gunn. “He recovered from that and he will be in the squad for the weekend. He's back training but he missed a few days through his illness so probably wasn't strong enough to play or be involved on Monday night.”