City boss Bryan Gunn today insisted that his quest to rebuilt a Canary side that was fit for its League One purpose was 'bubbling along' – and could yet come to the boil sooner rather than later.
As ever, the summer has brought a raft of names to the fore; as yet, the Canary chief has yet to tie his colour to any mast other than to suggest that he was looking for leaders of men; big characters that would be more than comfortable playing in the third tier of English football.
“We've been doing our homework,” said Gunn, with Hartlepool's out-of-contract skipper Michael Nelson one name that has been well to the fore.
“And things are bubbling along,” added the City boss. “We've been in conversation with various clubs and players' representatives – some of the names that have been mentioned are close to the mark, others are way off.
“But I'd like to think that by the time we get to the two-days of pre-season fitness testing at the end of June, beginning of July, we'll have a couple of new faces – or more – through the door.”
Likewise, he admitted, there might be one or two absent faces when the club makes it's traditional appearance at the Royal Norfolk Show that week.
“There's clearly a couple of players that have drawn interest as well from other clubs, so as well as a couple of fresh faces there migth be a couple of missing faces as well,” admitted Gunn, with Northern Ireland international midfielder Sammy Clingan clearly one of those with one eye on the exit door.
As for the new faces, much of the interest has centred on the 29-year-old Nelson who would tick many of Gunn's 'leader of men' boxes.
He is also out of contract at Victoria Park and available, therefore, on a free which in these current straitened times at Carrow Road holds a considerable appeal.
The fact that Nelson has worked at length with City No2 Ian Butterworth is another big trick up Norwich's sleeve with Pools' director of sport Chris Turner insisting last week that he needed an answer sooner rather than later as to where the classic, six-foot two-inch stopper fancied taking his career next.
“I spoke to Michael about eight or nine days ago and I said we would like to know what he is doing as soon as possible,” said Turner. “If he was to be moving on, then we would need to get someone else in. That is how I left it.”
This morning and the Hartlepool Mail were reporting that Turner remained in the dark as to where next for Nelson.
Gunn, meantime, was insisting that the Canaries would be looking to run horses for courses. And that life in League One would not be for either the faint of heart or weak of limb.
“We're in League One now and we need to be cutting our cloth accordingly,” said the City chief, still without either a chairman or a chief executive by his side.
“And what we need to find are players that can play and compete at this level comfortably.”
Nelson, of course, is not the only show in town. MK Dons defender Miguel Angel Llera has also won his medals at League One level, but now has Charlton on his tail.
Like Nelson he is 29; like Nelson he has been offered and turned down a new contract with his current employers.
Now back from his own summer break, Addicks chief Phil Parkinson has already admitted that he has spoken to Llera. Whether Charlton's pockets are any deeper than Norwich's these days must be something of a moot point after both clubs crashed out of the Championship last season.
?Llera is one of the players we've spoken to but we'll have to wait and see what happens,? said Parkinson.
Gunn has, likewise, confirmed his awareness of Llera's free agent status.
?We know he's out of contract – one of a number of players out of contract – but I think he's been mentioned in connection with quite a few teams,? the City chief said recently.
Were Gunn to squeeze a first summer signing through the door in the next 24 hours, there would be one, additional benefit – far removed from the playing side of things.
For as the club's 18,000-strong season ticket base continue to wrestle with their own, individual consciences as to what to do with their rebate, evidence that the Canaries were not wholly adrift and bereft of any plan or ambition might just sway one or two more people into foregoing their entitlement to that much-debated rebate.
Leave a Reply