City boss Peter Grant last night insisted that there was still much work to be done as the dust started to settle on Norwich's pre-season tour to Holland.
Certainly City physio Neal Reynolds will once again have his hands full between now and the start of the new season on August 11 as the likes of Darren Huckerby and Jimmy Smith stand outside his door waiting for attention.
Chris Brown (knee), Jason Shackell (hamstring) and Julien Brellier (thigh) are also among this summer's sick and injured – albeit with knocks of a precautionary nature. Even Huckerby looks to be within a chance of making the trip to Deepdale on August 11; as for 20-year-old Smith, his prospects remain in Mother Nature's healing hands.
At least, however, an X-ray on his damaged calf revealed no break. It will, however, require another 24 hours before the injury settles down sufficiently for a fuller assessment to be made. Overall, however, Norwich have rougher pre-seasons on the injury front. Craig Bellamy was out for nine months by now.
As for the manager's view of the last week and the two games against Apeldoorn and Zwolle, Grant appeared quietly satisfied.
“I'm pleased,” he said, speaking after last night's 2-1 defeat by Zwolle. “We've worked really hard away from the pitch, so there's a lot of work that has gone into the legs and that's maybe the reason that there's a tiredness in there and you get the strains.
“But everybody has had big periods on the pitch; we've looked at different things; some of which have been quite successful, some not so successful.
“The players know what we're all about now; what we're trying to achieve and we've still got one or two weeks yet to work at what we want. The players have got a sense of it now – and they've seen that in the first goal tonight,” added Grant, as new-boy David Strihavka broke his duck for the summer following a fine, flowing move.
“We've worked on that this morning; it's worked for us in the game. So wee things like that have been very pleasing.”
Not that it's time to put the feet up and gently ease into that trip to Preston. Those home clashes with West Ham United and Vitesse Arnhem should keep everyone on their toes.
“We've still got work to do – there's no doubt about that. We've got two big games when we get back to get us up to another level of fitness again ready for the kick-off – and that's what we're focussing on.”
As ever, however, weeks away tend to be more about how a new group of players gels together off the pitch, just as much as what they do on it.
“That's never been a problem – they've mixed very well with the new boys that have come in. Especially people like David (Strihavka) who understands little of the language.
“But they're a very close group anyway; they've mixed well together. And I think you've seen that last night when they all had the opportunity to come and watch the Valencia friendly here and they're all here.
“And simple things round about the hotel, they've all joined in together. So I think that's been very important for us,” added Grant. “It's been important for these boys to come away for such a long period of time.”
The biggest unknown of the summer remains Mr Brellier. But for those 45 minutes at The Walks, he has been virtually unseen. And yet it is clear – particularly on the back of Dickson Etuhu's exit – Grant and his No2 Jim Duffy have big plans for the French enforcer. He is the one that they are about, you sense, to build their midfield round.
Quite what he is going to bring to the party remains, pretty much, anyone's guess. Grant is certainly treating Brellier with kid gloves injury-wise.
“I wasn't going to take a chance on him – I've said that before,” he said last night, as Brellier continues to carry the slight thigh strain he picked up in those 45 minutes at The Walks.
“He's been working very hard in the gym, but with the bodies we have and I know the circumstances last year – that injuries were a problem for us and playing players when they are not 100 per cent.
“And even when he gets back now, we've still got to work on his general fitness. He's desperate to play – but so was Hucks (Huckerby) and we've seen what's happened to Hucks. So that's one of the things that I'm guarding against.”
One other big plus ought not to be under-estimated – the fact that all of his strikers have been amongst the goals. Including now Strihavka.
“All the strikers have scored goals – every one of them. And that's important.” As is sorting one or two familiar failings at the other end of the pitch.
“The goals we conceded tonight were disappointing through mistakes – so it just shows you that we've got things to brush up on.”