City boss Bryan Gunn will today watch his players go through the first of their pre-season paces – well aware that this summer's transfer merry-go-round has many a-spin to go.
For while the Canary chief has not been slow of the mark in terms of rebuilding his midfield with the arrival of Owain Tudor Jones from Swansea City and Matt Gill from Exeter – and, indeed, has shored up the defence with the arrival of ex-Hartlepool skipper Michael Nelson – all eyes now remain on the very front and the very back of the team where the big gaps remain to be filled.
Big in every sense of the word when it comes to who, exactly, does the 'big man' job up front; likewise, the City chief has yet to fill the gap left by David Marshall's exit – even if England Under-19 keeper Declan Rudd now has a nice, shiny new Canary contract to his name.
?It's a delicate situation with David Marshall leaving and I'm not rushing into it. I'm taking my time and considering all options,? Gunn told the Evening News on Friday.
Stuart Nelson – last season's No2 – is still in the building recovering from an ankle op. Whether the 27-year-old would be a ready-made answer to Gunn's quest for competition in that keeper slot is another question for he and his goalkeeping coach, Paul Crichton, to ponder.
?We've extended the period of Stuart's rehabilitation and we want to be sure the injury has healed. He is under contract to the end of the month and he will be coming in for fitness testing with the rest of the players on Monday,? said Gunn.
Up front is, however, where the biggest situation vacant lies.
Hopes that Cardiff's Warren Feeney might be added to the mix look set to be dashed by League One rivals Leeds United – the 28-year-old Northern Ireland international was today reported to be en route to Elland Road for a medical and thereby nipping the hopes of City, Huddersfield and Charlton in the bud.
Leeds boss Simon Grayson is banking on the fact that the transfer-listed Jermaine Beckford will exit to the Championship at some stage; thus far, however, and no-one is reported to have bid for his services.
Nevertheless, Grayson clearly has to make plans for a new life minus Beckford – mudch in the same way that Gunn whipped Tudur Jones and Gill into the building ahead of Sammy Clingan's likely departure.
Feeney has one-year left on his Cardiff City contract and would, therefore, come with a transfer fee attached.
Gunn's hand, money-wise, is likely to depend heavily on just how much extra finance the club can raise from any Clingan sale. Or, indeed, the possible departures of a Wes Hoolahan or a Darel Russell.
Which is why – right now – dipping into the season-long loan market or exploring straight player-swap deals might hold substantial appeal.
Derby's six-foot four-inch frontman Liam Dickinson could fit the bill loan-wise; Coventry City's Jay Simpson has been mentioned in relation to a make-weight move within any Clingan switch to the Ricoh.
By chance, one keeper with 'three irons' in the fire move-wise is ex-Canary keeper Andy Marshall who – like team-mate Simpson – is seemingly set for a Ricoh exit this summer after seeing out his three-year contract with the Sky Blues.
One of those irons is in League One, too.
“I have spoken to three clubs, two in the Championship and one in League One and hope to firm things up later this week when their managers are back from their holidays,? said Gunn's one-time under-study, whose free transfer switch to Ipswich Town always guarantees him a 'warm' reception with the Canary faithful.
It would, you suspect, also preclude him from a return to Carrow Road… wouldn't it?
?Three have shown serious interest in me with the possibility of being first choice at a Championship and League One side and competing for a place at another Championship club,” he added.
The other priority, said Marshall, was to be nearer London where the 34-year-old now has 'business interests' – in particular, an online shopping service targetted at his fellow professionals. It's not Tesco's.
?It is high brand and exclusive,? he said. ?We will be selling everything from watches to cars, property, boats and the chartering of private planes.?
Leave a Reply