Gallacher signs at last

Paul Gallacher is almost certain to start the new season as Norwich City's No 1 keeper after signing a new contract - and he is determined to make the most of his big chance.

Paul Gallacher is almost certain to start the new season as Norwich City's No 1 keeper after signing a new contract - and he is determined to make the most of his big chance.

The 25-year-old Scot put an end to over six weeks of uncertainty yesterday when he committed himself to the Canaries for the next two years. And, with Robert Green likely to be on the sidelines until October, he knows he now has a glorious opportunity to establish himself in the team.

Gallacher would have preferred to have taken over in different circumstances. But while he has huge amount of sympathy for his stricken colleague he knows he must make a favourable impression before the England man is fit and ready to challenge for a place in the first team again.

“I have been here for two years and have never been content with being on the bench,” he said. “I have got a big challenge ahead of me and I am ready for it. I signed here initially knowing that Robert was the established No 1. I knew it would be tough because he is a top-class keeper - and the situation hasn't changed.

“But now I have a chance - and I am determined to take it.”

He added: “Having said all that I feel really bad for Robert. I was abroad when he picked up his groin injury and I winced when I saw it on television. I was devastated for him because he has missed out on the World Cup finals but he is young enough to bounce back from this and earn himself another chance.”

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Gallacher shot to prominence at the tail end of last season when he performed well in the final four games after coming in when Green was sidelined with a minor ankle knock. Having spent the best part of two seasons on the sidelines he took to the challenge of being City's No 1 like a duck to water and is aiming to keep up the good work next term, even though, like all good pros, he is refusing to take his place in the side for granted.

“I had a chance at the end of last season and I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I thought I did okay and hopefully the fans liked what they saw. Now I hope I will get another chance to show what I can do.

“Hopefully I can start the season and then just move on from there. But I never take anything for granted - there will be other keepers available to the manager and all I can do is work hard in pre-season and hope I get the nod.”

With his contract up, Gallacher was linked with a move back to Scotland at the end of last season but once he knew he was wanted at Carrow Road he always had his sights set on staying at Carrow Road.

“This is big club with a massive fan base and I want to be part of it,” he said. “Hopefully it should be a good season, with us pushing for promotion or the play-offs at the very least, and I am really looking forward to it.

“I am glad it has all been sorted out because there is nothing worse than not knowing where you are.

“It was a bit surprised to be offered a new contract as I thought my future probably laid elsewhere. So to be offered two years was fantastic for me. It wasn't a hard decision to make in the end.

“There was a lot of paper talk about what I might be doing but that was all just speculation really. I was contracted to Norwich City and was concentrating on doing my best for them. When I was offered a new deal I was more than happy to sign it.”

Manager Nigel Worthington was also all smiles when the deal was announced at Carrow Road yesterday.

“Paul came in at the end of last season and did very well. We talked about a new deal from there on and I am delighted that everything has been agreed,” he said. “Because of the summer break things have taken a little bit longer than normal but now he has signed up for another two years.

“With Robert's injury it made it even more important to have another experienced goalkeeper on board.”

The City boss is keeping an open mind on whether to bring in another keeper before the start of season to provide some extra cover - or perhaps even some competition - for Gallacher.

“It's a situation which is up in the air at this moment in time,” he said. “Obviously we will have to see how Robert is progressing with his injury but ideally I would like another experienced goalkeeper here. It could be that we look to bring a loan keeper in as cover until Robert recovers, but that remains to be seen.”