Mike Phelan and Gary Holt are part of Alex Neil’s Norwich City plans
07:30 10 January 2015
Alex Neil has already told Mike Phelan and Gary Holt they will play a key role in his Norwich City era.
The Canaries’ new manager confirmed the duo, who have prepared the squad for Saturday’s Championship trip to Bournemouth, do have a future at Carrow Road.
Neil also plans to bring his assistant, Frankie McAvoy, with him from Hamilton with McAvoy set to arrive at the end of January. In the meantime, Phelan and Holt will help Neil acclimatise to his new surroundings.
“I am looking forward to working with the two of them. I think we’ll do well,” he said. “The staff here at the moment will remain. I aim to add a coach, Frankie McAvoy, who was with me at Hamilton and will join us at the end of the month. Regarding anything else I have had a chat with them and reassured them I am looking forward to working with them. I think their knowledge of the place and the team will help me going forward.”
Neil and Holt went head-to-head last season before Neil’s Hamilton edged out Falkirk in the race for promotion to the Scottish Premier League. The 33-year-old also aims to tap into Phelan’s vast coaching experience at Manchester United.
“Gary Holt, I know from when he was a manager at Falkirk. I know him relatively well. We were fighting for the Championship last year,” he said. “At my age I am not going to get anybody younger than me to come in and help. Frank McAvoy is 48, I think, so that is commonplace and Mike is another who has huge experience. You look at the club he was at in terms of his coaching career and that is fantastic. He’ll certainly help me and add to what we have got.”
McAvoy has played a key role in Hamilton’s youth set-up but Neil’s right-hand man is poised to work with the Canaries’ senior squad.
“Youth development is huge, it was a huge part of Hamilton, but my main focus is the first team,” he said. “If you include Bournemouth we have 22 league games so my main focus is on that but, longer term, the youth academy and young players is what any club needs to promote and bring through as many as you possibly can. I have been involved in that for a long time, so has Frankie, but he will come down here as a first team coach along with Mike and Gary to help me get the first team playing good football and hopefully winning games.”
Neil revealed he also plans to seek out his predecessor, Neil Adams, ahead of a scheduled summer return to the club.
“I’ve got no problem working with Neil. It is a testament to him the fact that he has moved on now as manager but is prepared to come back to the club. It shows his heart is at Norwich,” said the Canaries’ boss. “He is a Norwich guy. I will probably meet Neil in due time and that is something for the summer but my focus right now is the team.”