City boss Bryan Gunn has confirmed where his transfer thoughts are turning to next – filling shirts No9 and No1.
The arrival of Owain Tudur Jones and Matt Gill and the fact that neither the likes of a Sammy Clingan or a Darel Russell have moved on as yet ensures that department is pretty well catered for. Indeed, with both non-league triallist Scott Neilson and returning City star Paul McVeigh in the building too, the manager's cup positively overfloweth in that regard.
Likewise at the back, the arrival of ex-Hartlepool skipper Michael Nelson has filled one, obvious gap.
The situations that are vacant, therefore, are at either end – right up top in terms of a no-nonsense centre-forward and in goal where the decision not to offer Stuart Nelson a new deal leaves England Under-19 prospect Declan Rudd with the place to himself. For now…
“We haven't offered Stuart [Nelson] a new deal,” revealed Gunn, speaking at yesterday's first summer Press briefing.
“But I have got options on the goalkeeping front – and that's what we're exploring now,” added the Canary chief, swift to pay tribute to Nelson's stint as the Marshall's deputy.
“He can in last year on a one-year deal; was a tremendous back-up to David Marshall; never gave us a moment's trouble. But I felt this is an important position that I need to make sure [that's right] – I'll take my time to fill.”
But, yes, finding someone for Master Rudd to play with was one of his priorities.
“My No1 priority is – yes – a No1 and a No9,” he said. “The spaces are there, as such, to fill. So myself, John Deehan and David McNally are working hard behind the scenes to tie up a few of the deals.
“We have done a lot of groundwork during the summer and, obviously, that was evident when we signed Gill, Jones and Nelson early and now we're hopeful that by the middle of next week that we will have maybe one, two, three, four more faces in place.
“And if we can do that then the squad is starting to look solid.”
That was the timetable he was now working towards; more bodies through the door by the start of next week – whether they be of the Alan Lee ilk. Or the Liam Dickinson.
“I would say by the beginning of next week,” was the manager's provisional thinking for a few more fresh faces, as the pace of the summer's ins and outs starts to quicken with the return to pre-season training.
“That's probably when we'll be in a position to come up with some more faces for you,” he added.
With the midfield coming on nicely defensively, too, Gunn's hand looks fairly solid. For over and above Nelson's arrival, he can also call upon the services of two, older heads in the shape of Adam Drury and Dejan Stefanovic – both now fully recovered from their various injury traumas.
“They're just part of the group now,” confirmed Gunn, with both having been put through their fitness paces this week.
“The results have been excellent on both, so again it's now down to them to carry that on.”
Ditto Wes Hoolahan who had an operation on his ankle right at the end of the season. The Dubliner was, said Gunn, on his usual chirpy form.
“Wes was signed off the week after we finished the season, but he's fit and raring to go; looking good; looking like he's been doing his [fitness] programme during the summer. Typical, bubbly Wes.”
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