Alex Neil uses Bees’ finale to fine tune Norwich City’s Premier League plans
- Credit: Archant
Norwich City's boss Alex Neil aims to make the most of one last chance to get the perfect blend for Crystal Palace's opening-day Premier League visit in Saturday's pre-season climax against Brentford at Carrow Road.
New boys Robbie Brady and Andre Wisdom will feature against the Bees (3pm) as Neil puts the finishing touches to his preparations for the Eagles.
'This game just allows me really to have a look at another couple of combinations for Palace,' he said. 'There are a few, with the new lads, that I haven't been able to look at and with the existing players it is important I see who can fit in and around each other.
'It is really important, those combinations between the players, in terms of their strengths and weaknesses, balance each other out. If they are in the side for a specific role then it has to complement those around them.'
Neil views the additions of both Brady and Wisdom as part of that vital process.
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'With Robbie, first of all I thought we needed competition down our left side. It was probably our weak side last year and if we got a few injured it was going to cause us problems,' said Neil. 'Secondly, he is a really good player. He showed his qualities for his old club and on the international stage. He is 23 as well, he had a good pedigree at Manchester United and I think he can only improve. He has great stamina, good legs to get up and down the side of the pitch, plus quality delivery with his left foot.
'What I don't want to do is add a lot of older players to the squad because that is a quick fix. If you can bring in young, hungry players with a point to prove and you make sure their careers are going in the right direction that is what you want, and he certainly fits the bill.'
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Liverpool loanee Wisdom came through the ranks as a centre back on Merseyside but Neil sees the 22-year-old as a strong option out wide.
'We looked relatively short on the flanks, in terms of full back positions,' he said. 'Andre has played at centre back as a lad and then moved to right-back and played a number of games there in the Premier League. Last year we had Steven (Whittaker) occupying that role and then Russell (Martin) had to move out there and also Elliott Bennett can play down that flank, but it was important we added competition. He is another player with his future ahead of him.'
The City manager, however, did sanction Ignasi Miquel's departure earlier this week, with the Spanish centre-back unlikely to get any opportunities to impress at Carrow Road.
'I just think you have to be fair to the boys and let them know what my thoughts are. Unfortunately for Iggy I felt there were other players ahead of him and his game-time was going to be limited,' said Neil. 'The last thing I want to do is stall a young lad's career. The most important thing at that age is they play. He wasn't going to get that here.'
Neil insisted there had been no firm transfer interest in any of his other players ahead of next month's deadline, with the likes of Gary Hooper and Kyle Lafferty touted with close-season exits during the long recess.
'You always get queries but a lot of the time it is really clubs testing the water just to see where we stand,' he said. 'There is nothing of note; nothing that is at an advanced stage.'