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Steven Whittaker eyes a key role in Norwich City’s Championship fightback

Norwich's Steven Whittaker aims to nail down a regular spot in Neil Adams' starting line up. Picture by Stefano Gnech/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich's Steven Whittaker aims to nail down a regular spot in Neil Adams' starting line up. Picture by Stefano Gnech/Focus Images Ltd

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Steven Whittaker is ready to cement his position as Norwich City’s number one right-back.

The Scottish international looks set to be the man in possession with captain Russell Martin switched to central defence and Whittaker knows he must seize his chance ahead of the Championship kick-off on August 10.

Whittaker backed Neil Adams to succeed Chris Hughton when he took over for the final five matches of the Premier League season but the 30-year-old is taking nothing for granted.

“I think Russ himself would say he wants to play at centre back now. That is where he operates for Scotland so if it means I can get more of a chance at right-back then of course that is good for me,” he said.

“It seemed the previous manager always wanted Russ in his team so that limited the chances I had but whether it is Russ or someone else competition is always going to be there for the shirt at this club.

“I’ll just keep my head down, work hard and hopefully the opportunities come my way this year. I am looking forward to working with the manager for the whole of this season and hopefully it can be a success. We knew it was make-or-break time when Neil came in last season and we tried to give it a good bash.

“I think the performances did improve but we didn’t get those results we needed against some very good teams so we fell a little bit short.”

Whittaker was on target in the opening practice match of City’s two-date Italian tour, which concludes with Friday’s friendly against SC Bastia after scheduled games against Novara and Livorno were shelved. The former Rangers’ defender insists all that matters is City hit the ground running at Wolves next month.

“The only thing that matters is we get off to a flying start,” he said. “It was nice to be involved in an attacking sense the other day. They were not up to much but I had a couple of chances and managed to see one hit the back of the net which was great.

“Maybe it hasn’t worked out with the standard of opposition so far but really it is all about working our way up to be ready for that first league game.

“That is the most important. We have all been part of pre-seasons when you might have won all the friendlies and you don’t start the season well and vice versa. The facilities here are excellent.

“We’re in a nice hotel and it’s a relaxed environment. It gives us a lot of time to come away and be with the rest of the boys which is good for morale. It’s definitely a worthwhile exercise.”

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