City step up to the mark
CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City's preparations take a step up in class when they travel to Cambridge United.Having got through the midweek loosener against Fakenham virtually unscathed, manager Nigel Worthington knows that the Conference team will provide his players with a much-needed stiffer test at the Abbey Stadium.
Norwich City's preparations take a step up in class on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Cambridge United.
Having got through the midweek loosener against Fakenham virtually unscathed, manager Nigel Worthington knows that the Conference team will provide his players with a much-needed stiffer test at the Abbey Stadium.
“Very much so - that's the whole idea of pre-season,” he said. “Each of the games which comes along is a step-up and Cambridge will be much stiffer opposition for us.
“We will work hard and put into practice what we have been doing on the training ground and just look at as many things as possible to see what is working.”
Worthington has Robert Earnshaw, Craig Fleming and Ian Henderson - who all missed the Fakenham game - available, and will be keen to get them up to speed with their team-mates. The only players missing are Robert Eagle, who picked up a thigh strain at Fakenham, and Matt Halliday, who has three stitches in a head injury sustained in training.
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Welsh international Earnshaw had a Wales training camp during the summer and he and international team-mate Carl Robinson returned to action a week later than their team-mates. But a tight hamstring meant he was absent in midweek, although he will play some part.
“All of those boys are ready and have trained the last couple of days and they are a little bit back up as far as training is concerned,” said Worthington. “Everything is well and they will play some part in the game on Saturday.”
Worthington will repeat his midweek tactics and play two sides, one for each half - but they won't be the same two teams.
“It is just a case of giving everybody half a game, there is no real indicator as yet.”
That will come next weekend after the tour to Scotland. City play Livingston on Tuesday and Falkirk next Saturday and it will be north of the border when things really begin to take shape.
“As a staff we have not yet decided whether that will happen in the first game or the second, but we will be looking to nail things down with regards to the team we want to start the season with and will move on from there,” Worthington added.
Cambridge are managed by ex-Canary Rob Newman, aided and abetted by another former Norwich defender, Tony Spearing - who have both promised the test Worthington will want to see his players pass with flying colours.
“All I'm asking from my players is to give a good account of themselves and I'm sure if they play up to their abilities they will do that,” Newman said.
“I don't want them to freeze - it is a friendly and I want them to go out and express themselves and be themselves in terms of their technique and ability. If they can do that then hopefully we'll make it a good game.”
One of the younger players who will feature, defender Andrew Cave-Brown, has been called up by Scotland for the UEFA European U19 Championships in Poland this month.
The 17-year-old is the only English-based player to feature in Scotland's squad. Scotland are the only home nation to qualify for the competition, with the young Tartan Army facing a tough opening set of group matches.
On July 18 they kick off their tournament with a match against Portugal, followed by matches with Spain (July 20) and Turkey (July 23). The final of the competition is scheduled for July 29.
Cave-Brown came through the Academy ranks at Norwich City and was this summer rewarded with his first professional contract.
The tournament means Cave-Brown will miss the Canaries tour of Scotland, and he could be unavailable for the remainder of pre-season warm-ups should his country get through the initial group stage.