There will be new faces - Munby
DAVID CUFFLEY Norwich City fans have been urged not to fret over the absence of new signings as Nigel Worthington's men prepare to report for pre-season training. Nearly eight weeks after the final match of the 2005-06 Coca-Cola Championship campaign against Wolves, the Canaries have yet to add to their senior squad, other than to re-sign goalkeeper Paul Gallacher on a two-year contract and recruit a new first-team coach in England Under-19 boss Martin Hunter.
Norwich City fans have been urged not to fret over the absence of new signings as Nigel Worthington's men prepare to report for pre-season training.
Nearly eight weeks after the final match of the 2005-06 Coca-Cola Championship campaign against Wolves, the Canaries have yet to add to their senior squad, other than to re-sign goalkeeper Paul Gallacher on a two-year contract and recruit a new first-team coach in England Under-19 boss Martin Hunter.
Earlier this week, Worthington confirmed he had inquired about Leeds United striker Rob Hulse, but reports yesterday that City had made a £2m bid for Hulse - and that it had been rejected - were dismissed as “totally untrue” by Carrow Road officials.
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However, with the players due back at Colney next week, club chairman Roger Munby last night attempted to reassure supporters who may be getting restless after one of the Canaries' quietest summers on record - and he insisted there would be signings before the Championship season kicks off at Leeds on Saturday, August 5.
He said: “There won't be many new faces. We're not on for wholesale change, we're on for this targeted approach. But don't worry, be assured that from well before the end of last season we were looking hard at our options so that plans were laid before people went on holiday.
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“Now people are back from holiday we can set about attempting to implement the targets that we've set.”
While Hulse, 26, is near the top of City's wanted list, Munby flatly rejected suggestions that they had made a £2m bid for a player who joined Leeds for just £1.1m from West Bromwich Albion little more than a year ago.
He said: “It's not true. Nor is it logical. I don't think from a negotiating point of view we'd start anywhere near £2 million since his price a year ago was half that and he's scored 14 goals in the Championship.”
Whether City even have £2m to spend - let alone on one player - without selling first, they won't divulge.
“I won't say how much we've got or really comment on whether we could afford to pay £2m for a player,” said Munby.
“But the money is very tight. We haven't got what we had to spend last year, but then again there aren't the departures that there were last year.
“We believe that for the most part we have a pretty damn good squad which requires highly selective, highly targeted improvements - or would certainly benefit from them if we could achieve them.”
Munby pointed out, however, that City had pulled out all the stops for big-money signings in recent seasons, as demonstrated by the arrivals of Darren Huckerby, Dean Ashton and Robert Earnshaw.
He said: “Nobody believed we could sign Darren Huckerby, and we did. Nor I think was there a belief we could afford Dean Ashton, but we did with the immense help of the shareholders.
“I believe we might have afforded Peter Crouch if he had been available to us from Aston Villa when we wanted him, but he was not, and by the time he was available, Southampton were able to outbid us, not only in transfer fee but also quite significantly in wages, which was a great shame.”
He added: “In a sense we don't have a budget. What we have is a proposition from the manager, which we will be getting when the time's right, to see if we can afford a certain player.
“What we are saying is, Nigel, knowing the background and knowing that money is tight, make us a proposal - you give us the problem and we'll tell you if we can sort it.”