Not for the first time this summer, Neil Warnock and the Croydon Advertiser proved the best source of Norwich City news as the Eagles boss revealed last night that he had agreed a compensation package with the Canaries for their Welsh Under-21 left-back prospect Rhoys Wiggins.
?We've accepted an offer from Norwich for Rhoys,? was the simple line that launched news of Bryan Gunn's sixth signing of the summer following yesterday's arrival of midfielder Stephen Hughes.
In fact, it might be more accurate to describe Wiggins as No7 for an increasingly hectic pre-season after Paul McVeigh agreed a new, one-year deal with his former employers – and promptly celebrated by bagging City's goal in the 1-1 draw with Dereham last night as Reserves boss Ian Crook gave his youngsters another run out.
Somewhere in the mix remains Preston winger Simon Whaley who was widely reported as been in the city for a medical this week. He would, therefore, become No8 for the summer as and when his switch from Deepdale is finally ratified.
All that is missing, of course, is the biggest piece in the jigsaw – No9. Literally, the No9 as Gunn starts to fill every position bar the one that will do so much to decide Norwich's fate this season – a big, strapping centre-forward.
Cue the return of the Grant Holt rumours; the Shrewsbury Town forward was notable only by his absence in last night's 2-0 pre-season friendly defeat by West Bromwich Albion.
The word was that the 28-year-old was not at the Prostar Stadium because the strapping target man was believed to be 'finalising a deal' with the Canaries.
He, like Wiggins, is on the mend from a summer ankle op; he did the full 90 minutes in Monday night's Shropshire Senior Cup final against neighbours Telford United.
?At this moment it looks like Grant is going to be available and we just need to see how he comes through training,? said Shrews boss Paul Simpson speaking ahead of that game. The former Carlisle chief had, of course, insisted earlier this summer that the club had no need to sell their star asset.
Events, however, appear to have changed – particularly if Gunn now knows that he has ?650,000-worth of Sammy Clingan cash en route from the Ricoh. He might also be closing in on a deal with Burnley for Darel Russell's services – again, that may in turn enable him to make Shrewsbury an offer they really can't refuse for last season's top scorer.
How fit Holt will be by the start of the news season on August 8 is another matter. It was clearly a case of gently, gently earlier this week.
?He came through yesterday without any reaction and if it is the same again then I think he will play. He needs to start building it up now and, with a bit of luck, we can get at least 45 minutes out of him and maybe a little more.?
The fact that they got the full 90 out of the one-time Forest favourite bodes well – if Holt is, indeed, about to be unveiled as No9 for the season.
Wiggins' woe is a summer knee op, but he too is now firmly back on the mend and shone last season when keeping Ched Evans company in the Welsh Under-21 set-up.
The Eagles' trainee has, however, just one Palace appearance to his name; last season and his experience of first team football was limited to just a dozen appearances for Bournemouth on loan.
He could be down as one 'for the future' – giving Gunn enthusiastic cover for Adam Drury and enabling Simon Lappin to concentrate his first team thoughts on that left-hand side of midfield.
As for McVeigh, Gunn was more than happy to welcome the 31-year-old Northern Ireland international back into the fold.
What had initially started as nothing more than a 'look see' and a chance for McVeigh to top up his fitness after being released by Luton Town in the summer has now progressed into a full-time deal.
“I was open minded about him coming back to train with us in the summer, but he has really made a great impression,” Gunn told the club's official website overnight.
“Not just on those that knew him before, but also on Ian Butterworth and Ian Crook who had not previously worked with him.
“His attitude and commitment are first class and he is very keen to succeed with Norwich City next season.”
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