Spillane will be better for Hatters loan
Michael Bailey Michael Spillane believes he will return to Carrow Road a better player next season - if he is handed an extended stay by Bryan Gunn. The 19-year-old is currently on a season loan at League Two strugglers Luton Town alongside fellow City academy product Chris Martin, and the pair has impressed enough to see the Hatters make two bids for the duo during the January transfer window.
Michael Spillane believes he will return to Carrow Road a better player next season - if he is handed an extended stay by Bryan Gunn.
The 19-year-old is currently on a season loan at League Two strugglers Luton Town alongside fellow City academy product Chris Martin, and the pair has impressed enough to see the Hatters make two bids for the duo during the January transfer window.
The Norwich board turned down both approaches and with Spillane's current three-year deal set to expire in the summer, the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international is unsure where his future lies, despite enjoying his time at Kenilworth Road.
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“I'm not sure what's going to happen next season,” said Spillane, who has scored four goals in his 35 appearances this term. “I just love playing week in week out. I have always wanted to do it and I think it has done me the world of good and made me better as a footballer.
“There are a lot of strikers who are just physical and you get elbows, and I'd expected that. But there are some good players in this league. People don't realise it's not an easy league to play in and it is a learning curve - it's done me really well.
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“I'm only 19 and to have a whole season in League Two is really beneficial. I've probably played double the amount of games I've played at Norwich.
“All I have got to do is concentrate on playing well with Luton and hopefully that will make me a better player when I come back to Norwich and I can kick on from there.”
Spillane and Martin were sent out on loan by Glenn Roeder - who once dubbed the pair Tweedledum and Tweedledee - and it is a moot point whether the former Norwich manager may have been inclined to accept Luton's advances.
However, Bryan Gunn now holds the reins and Spillane has already noticed a difference.
“Bryan rang me up and spoke to me, he said they've been watching me and Chris, and they'll be watching our games and our progress. So it was nice to get a phone call and know that they're interested in how we do. It was good to chat to him,” said Spillane, who admitted the situation was different during the first half of the season. “I don't know. I didn't really get phone calls but I spoke to people at the club.
“I didn't have a clue about the bids. I don't concentrate on that and I didn't really know what had happened until I read it in the papers.
“I'm really enjoying my time at Luton but I don't really want to think about next season until I get my options sorted. I'm just concentrating on football and not talking about stuff like contracts until the time is right and hopefully something will happen.”
It is almost home from home at Kenilworth Road for Spillane and Martin, with Ian Henderson, Paul McVeigh and Rossi Jarvis completing the list of former Canaries plying their trade in Bedfordshire.
Martin is Luton's top scorer with eight goals in 34 appearances this season and Spillane believes the striker - who still has a year left on his first professional deal - also sees his future at Carrow Road.
“I would've thought so,” said Spillane. “He's been scoring goals and Chris is always going to score goals. I know that and I'm sure the manager might know the same.
“Hopefully he'll return from a good spell at Luton and get back to being in the first team at Norwich.”
It has been an excellent start to the New Year for the defender, who was named Republic of Ireland Under-19 player of the year last week, before scoring Ireland's equaliser for the Under-21s against Germany in a friendly on Wednesday.
“I was really proud to get the award,” admitted Spillane. “We weren't told who was going to win it, so when I heard my name I felt really proud and happy. There are some really good players in the Ireland age groups.”
Having been handed a 30-point penalty at the start of the season for financial irregularities, Luton's entire season has been a fight against adversity.
The Hatters would be sitting 16th after going down to their 11th defeat of the campaign at Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday; instead they are 21 points adrift of safety and rooted to the bottom of League Two.
“We're obviously trying our hardest to go for it and I do think we've got enough to get out of the situation we're in,” said Spillane. “Every result has been so important and the pressure has been huge. Sometimes to draw is not that bad, but in our situation it was.
“We've got to win 12 games and if we do that, we'll hopefully stay up and with our team, we've got every chance to do it, but it will be really hard.”
Before resuming their League Two troubles, Luton have the tonic of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy area final second leg, at League One Brighton tonight with both Martin and Spillane set to feature.
The sides drew 0-0 in the first leg back in January and a Wembley final against either Rotherham or Scunthorpe awaits the eventual winners.
“It would be brilliant, certainly the highlight so far,” added Spillane.
t Luton Town's Johnstone's Paint Trophy area final second leg tie at Brighton is live on Sky Sports 2 from 7.30pm tonight.