City defender Gary Doherty revealed yesterday that he had “weighed up his options” before signing a fresh, two-year deal with the club as Glenn Roeder's best-laid plans start to take shape.
With Roeder's defensive options thin on the ground, Doherty's commitment to the cause could be a shrewd bit of business ? especially if the Norwich boss keeps firing blanks in his search for more backline recruits.
At the age of 28, the former Republic of Ireland international's next move was a crucial one after his Canary deal expired last month and it has taken longer than most fans expected to secure his signature.
He had been strongly linked with a move to the MLS ? where he could have possibly teamed up with old pal Darren Huckerby at San Jose Earthquake.
But the former Spurs man ? who has been at Carrow Road since joining from White Hart Lane in August 2004 ? was delighted to sign on the dotted line in the end.
“When you're 28 you want to weigh up your options and see what's out there but Norwich are, in my opinion, one of the big clubs in this league,” Doherty told Canaries World.
“But it's no good saying that year in, year out. We've got to start producing the goods on the pitch and proving that to people. And that's going to be our aim this season.
“It's a two-year deal so I'm happy with that. I think the club is going in the right direction and I'm enjoying my football here so hopefully that can continue.
“I've always been settled here, that was never a problem. Like I say, enjoying your football is the main thing and I have been to be honest.
“You ask any player and that is what they want. They want to be enjoying their football and enjoying their training and that's what I'm doing at the minute.”
Doherty, who was described as a 'rock' in City's defence last year by Roeder, has not notched as many goals throughout his Canary career as he would have liked and the 'Doc' admitted yesterday that he had changed his squad number in a bid to get those scoring boots on once again.
Now City's new number 12, the Donegal-born defender will be hoping he can replicate his Luton and Tottenham days from a goals point of view.
After all, for a man who can also operate as a striker, four goals in four years is nothing to write home about?
“It's all about superstition,” he added. “Since I've been at Norwich, my goal tally has been rubbish really. I used to wear 12 at Luton and at Tottenham and I used to be quite free-scoring in those days.
“It's just a little thing but I'm hoping it will jar the brain into scoring the odd goal again and hopefully I can get a few more this season.”
While Roeder still desperately scrambles around for reinforcements, City's 08/09 squad is still taking shape.
With the additions of Sammy Clingan and Wes Hoolahan, and the extended tours of duty for Messrs Doherty and Fotheringham, we are getting there slowly but surely.
It's still too early to be talking about the play-offs or promotion, but Doherty admitted that if Roeder and Co have a few aces up their sleeve transfer wise, then there is no reason why the Canaries should not aim for the stars.
“We say every year that we should be up there but I really believe this year that we could be if we get some key signings in,” continued the man affectionately known as the 'Ginger Pele'.
“Obviously the gaffer is looking to sign a few more players and hopefully they will be of the quality that can push us to promotion.
“Last year we looked good in fits and starts. We went on a great run so we have proved that we have got good results in us but we need to be more consistent and I think the main thing is to get off to a good start.
“We've got a difficult start with a tough game away at Coventry but after that we need to start digging in at home at get the right results that are going to push us up the league.”
And with pre-season training now under way, the City squad will be 'enjoying' the hard slog that usually comes hand in hand with their first week back.
But to push up that league and achieve the goal that everyone of yellow and green persuasion wants, hard graft must be the name of the game ? especially with a 46 game Championship season on the horizon.
And Doherty admitted that while it would be tough, he was just glad to be back in the bosom of the Colney family again after a two-month break since the end of last year's topsy-turvy campaign.
“You never look forward to pre-season but I'm delighted to be back and to see all the lads again. But it's tough work and obviously we have just changed the whole backroom staff and the fitness people so it's not going to be something I'm used to.”