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‘I love it’ – Fans making City star feel right at home, and giving him an extra yard

Grant Hanley ensures Josh Harrop's progress is halted in front of referee Geoff Eltringham, as Norwich City hold Preston North End to a goalless draw at Deepdale. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Grant Hanley ensures Josh Harrop's progress is halted in front of referee Geoff Eltringham, as Norwich City hold Preston North End to a goalless draw at Deepdale. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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Norwich City supporters have loved the work of Scotland international Grant Hanley since his summer arrival from Newcastle United – and the feeling is mutual.

A key consequence of the Canaries’ August thrashing at Millwall, Hanley has become a firm favourite with City fans since he became a trusted and consistent part of Daniel Farke’s starting XI.

Another clean sheet was secured at Deepdale on Saturday, in turn hitting hard the play-off hopes of Alex Neil’s Preston.

And having found life a lot harder during his solitary season at Newcastle, the Blackburn centre-back’s subsequent switch from St James’ Park has warmed his heart.

“I love it; I’m really enjoying my time here,” said the 26-year-old defender. “I’m really thankful and grateful I’ve been given this opportunity.

Grant Hanley clears ahead of Greg Cunningham during Norwich City's goalless draw at Deepdale, against former boss Alex Neil and his Preston side. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesGrant Hanley clears ahead of Greg Cunningham during Norwich City's goalless draw at Deepdale, against former boss Alex Neil and his Preston side. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

MORE: Grant Hanley happy with Norwich City’s character displayed at Preston

“Sometimes I might feel like… I don’t feel last season was a backwards step because I still feel I learned a lot (at Newcastle).

“But to get this opportunity and for the club to put their faith in me, bring me in and give me so much game time – and then there’s the support I feel I get from the fans.

“It’s brilliant and people might not realise it, but it really does give you that extra yard and I must say, I’m really enjoying my time here.

“If you know the fans are behind you and you’ve got their backing, it’s a good feeling and I’m really grateful and appreciate they’ve taken to me so well.”

That feeling also bodes well for next season, when further summer upheaval will put even greater weight on Hanley’s Championship experience and seniority in the Carrow Road group – alongside his clear and obvious leadership.

MORE: Norwich City legend Ian Culverhouse upsets King’s Lynn Town by announcing end of season exit

“I feel like I’m settling in well and I’m growing into the team, so for me personally it’s just about keep trying to get better myself, keep trying to bring my attributes on to the park and try to drag the lads through, and try to do it for the club and kick on,” he added.

“I don’t think we’re a million miles away from where we need to be. When we play the bigger teams in the league, it seems like we always do well and always seem to match them.

“It’s just up to us to fine-tune it if you like, work on the areas we need to and keep getting better at the areas we feel we’re already strong in. Hopefully we’ll end this season on a high and try to kick-on next year.”

For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Michael Bailey on the following channels…

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