Tudur Jones can't wait for the new season
Chris Lakey Owain Tudur Jones is already looking into the future - and he likes what he sees. There's a quick reunion with former manager Roberto Martinez, when Wigan come to Carrow Road for the final match of pre-season, the chance to make himself a regular in John Toshack's Wales squad - and the prospect of being one of the central figures in what he believes will be a successful season for Norwich City.
Owain Tudur Jones is already looking into the future - and he likes what he sees.
There's a quick reunion with former manager Roberto Martinez, when Wigan come to Carrow Road for the final match of pre-season, the chance to make himself a regular in John Toshack's Wales squad - and the prospect of being one of the central figures in what he believes will be a successful season for Norwich City.
Tudur Jones - who became Bryan Gunn's second signing of the summer when he left Swansea last month - believes the quality is in place to prove his decision to step down from the Championship was a correct one.
“It is a squad that there is no question is going to compete, absolutely,” said the 24-year-old, who spent the final three months of the season on loan to League One side Swindon.
“The secret of doing well in this league and winning promotion is just consistency. It's a difficult thing to have because every game is a tough game. You look at our fixtures and Colchester, the first game, is a derby and then we play three of the promoted sides (Exeter, Brentford and Wycombe) from last season who are used to winning and it's going to be tough. It's all about getting that consistency.
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“This is a squad with a lot of players who are used to not winning from last season and it's important to put things right in that first month of the season, to get back to winning habits. Certainly it's a better place to come in to work every day if you're winning games and that can only be a good thing for our promotion push.
At 6ft 4ins there's no hiding place in midfield for Tudur Jones, but after a Swansea career which was hit by injuries he's looking forward to putting a smile back on his face.
“I have just come here to enjoy my football and that's something that has been lacking for the last couple of years,” he said.
“The end of last season I went away to Swindon on loan and it was just perfect for my career to get a good run of games with a manager there, Danny Wilson, who I knew had a lot of faith in me and I was there to do a job.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it and that played a big part in me knowing it was time to move on.
“In terms of the way I play, sure, I'm a big guy and eyes will be on me because maybe it seems that I'm a presence in there, but I'm just one of 11 players on a field trying to make an impact.
“I left Swansea with Roberto Martinez having just gone and nobody knowing who the next manager would be, and people were asking me why I didn't wait to see who the new man would be, but I just felt it was time for a new challenge.
“Coming down from the Championship with Swansea to League One with Norwich was not a difficult decision to make, just in terms of the facilities and the drive the club seems to have now in getting back up. I am hopefully fully justifying making the right decision.
“We're all trying to gel as a unit and for those who have seen the games this week we're progressing quite nicely. It was a good test against Raith Rovers, who are a couple of weeks ahead of us in terms of fitness. We won the game and then it was St Johnstone yesterday, a training ground game. Those sort of games are usually poor, but the boys performed very well and it shows that we have got a lot of good players here who can compete for places and if you're not on your game you're not going to be in the team, simple as that.
“That's a very good thing to have. It's going to be a tough season, no doubt about that, but certainly we are setting our targets high and I'm sure the manager is working hard to bring in a couple of other players just to fine-tune the squad.
“The new boys, including me, are settling in really well. They are a good bunch of lads and there is a good feel about the place, and away from here, the training ground at Colney makes it a pleasure to come into work every day.”
By the time Wigan visit Norwich on August 1, Tudur Jones will probably know just where he sits in the pecking order, with the expectancy that he will feature alongside Matt Gill in midfield - making an appearance against his old boss even more attractive.
“I'm hoping he hasn't got hold of his squad too much otherwise by then there will be quite a few passing moves from Wigan,” he said. “Once he settles in at Wigan I've got no doubt that he's going to be a success.
“It will be a good test for us - he's brought in a couple of lads who were with Swansea last season so it will be nice up against him again.”
Tudur Jones is also keen to see John Toshack again - as part of his Wales national squad.
“Tosh is a guy who puts faith in you - if you do good things for him he'll stick by you and obviously I know now if I'm playing regular football I could be part of his squad,” he said. “That's my aim - and to get a few caps along the way, that's perfect at the moment.
“I'm not thinking too far ahead in terms of getting a regular starting place in the Welsh line-up, there is no point thinking that far ahead.
In football you can think about all these things and tomorrow you can pick up an injury and be out for a long time, so I think it is about enjoying your football day in and day out and if you gain rewards for your performances on the pitch that can only be a good thing.”