Brennan goes to Saints

CHRIS WISE Jim Brennan became the second player to leave Norwich City during the January transfer window today when he joined Championship rivals Southampton on a free transfer.


Jim Brennan became the second player to leave Norwich City during the January transfer window today when he joined Championship rivals Southampton on a free transfer.

The 28-year-old Canadian international followed Dean Ashton through the exit door as he agreed a short-term contract with the Saints - and he will be hoping for an immediate chance to impress in Saturday's FA Cup fourth round tie at Leicester.

Brennan was also included in City's squad for the third round encounter against West Ham earlier this month, but he remained an unused substitute and, as such, is available to make his debut for his new club at the Walkers Stadium.

The news of the utility player's low-key departure will come as little surprise to City fans who have seen him struggle to make an impact at Carrow Road since another free transfer switch from Nottingham Forest during the summer of 2003. Brennan made just 48 appearances for the club in two-and-a-half seasons and will now be doing his utmost to earn an extended deal with George Burley's struggling side, having initially joined only until the end of the current campaign.

Explaining the move, manager Nigel Worthington commented: “Jim hasn't been having as many opportunities to play first-team football here as he would like.

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“He was getting frustrated and this move to Southampton represents a tremendous opportunity for him to play more games and further his career.

“I would like to thank him for everything he has done in his two-and-a-half years at Norwich City and wish him every success in his future career.”

Brennan had more than his fair share of bad luck with injuries during his time at Norwich - but there's no doubt he failed to fulfil his potential.

He proved himself to be one of the best attacking full-backs outside the Premiership at Nottingham Forest, and demonstrated the fact in no uncertain fashion when he inspired his side to an emphatic 4-0 victory against City during the closing stages of the 2002-3 campaign.

He capped off a scintillating display with a superbly taken goal that day, and a few months later was on his way to Norwich, with Worthington expecting him to provide competition for all his left-sided players.

Unfortunately, the Canadian picked up a thigh strain while preparing for the new season and it wasn't until late November that he finally made his debut for his new club.

With Adam Drury playing as well as ever, and few opportunities presenting themselves further up the pitch, Brennan was restricted to just 16 appearances in City's promotion season, only eight of which were starts - and it was a similar story of frustration in the Premiership.

Once again he was unlucky with knocks. But once again he struggled to make an impression on occasions when he was given a chance, and ended up playing just 11 games.

Ironically, Brennan has been far busier in what proved to be his final season at Carrow Road. He doubled his number of starts, and made 21 appearances in total over the course of the campaign - with a crippling injury list providing him with ample opportunity to shine. But, once again, he failed to produce the goods on a regular basis and Worthington was happy to let him leave six months before his contract was due to expire.

There were highlights - an equaliser at Everton in the third round of the FA Cup and a brilliantly taken goal at Coventry during the triumphant 2003-4 campaign spring to mind. But, by and large, Brennan was a bit-part player at Carrow Road throughout his stay - and the fact that he bowed out with a reserve appearance at Rugby Town's Butlin Road ground just about summed up the low-key nature of his Norwich career.

Looking back, Brennan's story was very much one of unfulfilled potential, with his manager apparently agreeing with that assessment.

“Jim picked up a injury soon after he joined us and that didn't help, but I think it's fair to say we would have liked a bit more from him,” he said.