December 7 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Former Norwich City defender Zak Whitbread is targeting a Premier League promotion double after joining Championship big spenders Leicester.
Whitbread reportedly turned down the chance to stay in the top flight with Southampton and Reading to sign a two-year-deal with the Foxes following his summer release by the Canaries. The 28-year-old believes his experience of being part of City’s back-to-back Football League successes could help Nigel Pearson’s squad follow Norwich into the big time.
“For any club in this division the main aim is to get into the Premier League. I was fortunate enough to experience that with Norwich and I know how it felt,” he said, “It was an unbelievable feeling to get promoted. It is a long season, you have to work hard and keep picking up results. The lads know that. We have some experienced players and we need to perform each week.
“I’ve got no magic formula but we had a great togetherness (at Norwich). We had lads who could score goals and win games and we always stuck together the whole season. Judging from what I seen here already the lad are a tight bunch with some great characters so the nucleus is there to challenge if we get a good start.”
Whitbread admitted he had not enjoyed a relative close season period of uncertainty before deciding on the East Midlands for the next phase of his career.
“I’m delighted to have signed. It has been a long summer but now I can get back among the lads, enjoy pre-season and look forward to the first game,” he said. “It was the first time I have been in that situation so it was a bit strange but most of it was left to my agent. I didn’t get too involved, but when it came to the final decision you look around the club and speak to the manager and staff that made my mind up for me. It’s a massive club and the goal is getting out of the division.
“Everything here now is geared and ready to challenge to go up. I’ve played against the gaffer’s teams a number of times and they are always well organised, solid and I think in this league you have to have that component. It is a great set of lads and I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Whitbread is unlikely to feature in Leicester’s opening pre-season friendly fixtures as he catches up on lost time in his fitness battle to be ready for the Championship kick-off.
“With signing so late I have had to do my own bits of fitness, which is not the same,” he told Leicester’s official site.
“The physios here have been great. They’ll get me to a level where they feel it is best to kick on. I can’t rush into it. Every year you look at the Championship and the teams who have come down, the teams coming up and those trying to get out for a number of years. It is probably the hardest league to get out of, but there is no-one we should be scared of. We have the talent here and the lads to crack on. There is no denying it will take a lot of commitment but let’s start with the basics and see how the season develops.”
Chris Hughton admitted Norwich’s soft centre again contributed to their downfall as Luis Suarez inspired Liverpool to a 5-1 Premier League win on Wednesday night at Anfield.