City boss Paul Lambert was happy with yesterday’s “run out” at Aldiss Park, as the Canaries stepped up their pre-season work with a 3-0 win over Dereham Town.
On a baking hot day in mid Norfolk, Lambert fielded two separate teams in each half and it was a typical July outing, with the visitors cruising to a comfortable win.
Michael Nelson got the first on 24 minutes when good work from Grant Holt – returning to the side after that ankle operation – allowed the centre-back to tap home.
In the second period it was the Cody McDonald show, with the Essex-born striker firing home from the edge of the box on 67, before rounding the Magpies ‘keeper two minutes later and slotting home to make it game, set and match.
But for Lambert and Co, it was purely a fitness exercise, with everything geared towards that Championship opener against Malky Mackay’s Watford on August 6.
“It was a good run out for us on a day when the weather was really warm,” said the Canary chief afterwards. “As long as everyone comes through it OK, that’s the main thing.
“No matter how much running you do in pre-season, the games are where you get your real fitness. But everybody seems OK and we’ll see how we go.
“These pre-season games won’t give much away until it’s for real and the main thing is just to get everybody fit, that’s the objective.”
Phase two of the summer programme sees the squad fly to Germany today for a private training camp – the same one used by Argentina in the 2006 World Cup – where they will crank up the fitness work as well as playing one match against a local outfit.
But with a number of familiar faces missing yesterday, including Matt Gill, Owain Tudur Jones and Tom Adeyemi, Lambert revealed that he will be taking a trimmed down squad to Germany.
“Not everybody will go and I’ve got to narrow it down. But we’ll go with it,” said the Scot, not giving too much away.
One player who was also absent at Dereham yesterday was new defender Elliott Ward, but Lambert allayed any long-term injury fears, with the former Hammer carrying just a slight niggle.
“It’s nothing serious; he just has a little problem with his achilles but there was no point taking a risk with him.”
Finally, the City boss admitted that he is in the market for a striker, with that position the only one he hasn’t strengthened so far this summer.
Gillingham forward Simeon Jackson has been strongly linked with a switch to Carrow Road and although Lambert didn’t reveal the identity of the man in question, City are certainly in the hunt for a new hitman to complement Messrs Holt and Martin.
“We’ve tried but it hasn’t materialised as yet and we’ll have to see what happens in the next week. It’s not gone but we’ll have to wait and see. We can only do what we can do due to finances.”
City (first-half): Ruddy; R.Martin, Nelson, Askou, Drury; Fox, Crofts, Lappin; Hoolahan, Holt, C.Martin.
City (second-half): Steer, K.Smith, Whitbread, Francomb, S.Smith; Hughes, McNamee (Gordon 88), Surman, Dawkin (Oakley 88); Johnson, McDonald.