City boss Bryan Gunn this morning formally unveiled signings No 11 and No 12 for the summer and admitted that his 2009-2010 jigsaw was all-but complete.
?For this week??
With Barcelona B striker Goran Maric to one side and Danish centre-half Jens Berthel Askou to the other ? with Bosnian-born Dane Dario Dumic acting as a dual interpreter ? the City chief reflected on another good week's work transfer-wise as the Norfolk side prepare for their final dress rehearsal of the summer with tomorrow's Carrow Road clash with Wigan Athletic.
Subject to both players receiving their international clearance papers in time, both are fit to feature. The biggest fly in the ointment is, however, not the Catalonia Football Association in the case of Maric or the Turkish FA in the case of Askou.
Today, the English FA have decided to move their HeadQuarters from their historic home at Lancaster Gate to state-of-the-art offices in Wembley; with a fax machine in transit, City fans may yet have to wait to see the newly-arrived pair in action.
?We've built up a good squad now ? a strong squad,? said Gunn, speaking at Colney this morning.
?It's a competitive squad with competition in all areas,? he added. ?We can see that right through the goalkeepers; the defensive areas; the midfield.
?And now with these two we've added to it, so we've got a very strong unit. But I don't think we'll ever say 'Never!'; we'll always keep looking. And if they're better players out there and affordable within the budget that we've got to work to, there may be opportunities to look at more players
?But certainly for this week, business is closed.?
It was the fact that both triallists proved that they could do the business on that pre-season tour to Scotland that did much to secure their signatures on one and two-year deals respectively ? Maric proving himself a right handful for defenders and referees alike, while the left-sided Askou offered a strong aerial presence in either box.
?Goran had a few elbows in Scotland ? and the big man here [Askou] can cope with that,? confirmed the City chief.
?But it was a good benchmark to see the guys in a competitive [setting].
?They can come over and train, it's actually seeing them in matches. And although they were pre-season friendlies they were fairly competitive; physical games.
?And both lads showed that they could cope with that and I think we all know that in League One we'll need to match that physicality as well. So I've no worries in these two in terms of that.
?But also they are good football players as well.?
The Dane, it seems, has a big trick up his sleeve. ?I don't know whether any of you have watched the warm-ups, but he has a great heading technique,? said Gunn.
?When we were warming up for the St Johnstone and Ian Butterworth was throwing him balls to head, Gary Doherty was watching in amazement, clapping his hands through the distance and the technique ? so the aerial strength is there.
Askou himself was delighted to be given the chance to try his luck back in Northern Europe after a two-year spell in Turkey where, he said, the style of football was ?chaos?.
?After two years in Turkey, I wanted to try something with a little bit more of a Northern European mentality,? said the Dane, signed on a Bosman-style free transfer.
?And what I saw here was very interesting ? that and the club's ambition; their goal of moving up to the Championship, hopefully, after this season. And that's my personal ambition as well ? to play in the Championship as well.?
Maric promises to be the liver wire on the pitch; he appears more than happy to ruffle a few feathers ? albeit with one promise. No red cards; plenty of yellows, but no reds?
?Norwich are a big club and they have big ambitions,? said Maric, quizzed ? via Dumic ? as for the reasons for his one-year switch from Spain.
?The stadium and the crowd was also very attractive; he would be very proud to play every week in front of 20,000 to 25,000 supporters. And he was very happy in Scotland ? how the players and the staff treated him.
?And it was the combination of all these that made him pick Norwich.?
Whether either plays against the Latics tomorrow remains in the hands of the FA.
With Gunn confirming that Palace head injury victim Michael Nelson will not be risked this weekend, the City chief may yet have to call on the services of either Dumic or his teenage side-kick David Stephens in Askou's likely absence.
Dejan Stefanovic ? Maric's fellow Serb ? is still in rehab.
Out of the treatment room and ready to play in the final dress rehearsal are Cody McDonald and Stephen Hughes, while Grant Holt, Simon Whaley, Adam Drury and Matty Pattison have all shrugged off various bumps and knocks and are likewise expected to feature.
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