Fraser Forster feels Norwich City have chosen well
Norwich's former League One title winner Fraser Forster believes the Canaries are in safe hands with Chris Hughton at the helm ahead of City's friendly tonight at Celtic Park.
Forster completed a permanent move to the Scottish giants during the summer after two successful season-long loan deals following an equally impressive stint in Norfolk.
Hughton was the man who paved the way for the ex-Newcastle academy prospect to link up with the Canaries back in 2009 during his spell as Geordies' boss.
Forster's impact was acknowledged by the City fans again when he returned for Adam Drury's testimonial at the end of last season and despite Paul Lambert's departure, Forster is tipping Hughton and his backroom team to keep City on an upward curve.
'Football is a small world,' he said. 'I know a few people now on the new coaching staff – Chris Hughton used to be my manager at Newcastle, Colin Calderwood used to be the caretaker manager at Newcastle, and Paul Trollope was my manager at Bristol Rovers (on loan) before I went to Norwich. The squad hasn't changed a great deal, though a few have left and a few have come in, but there haven't really been any massive changes.
'Grant Holt was there, he played every game and he's still there doing well. There are still a lot of people there on the playing side and I'm delighted for them all.'
Forster insists there can be no room for sentiment this evening with Celtic desperate to pick up the pace after a disappointing pre-season to date ahead of next week's crucial Champions League qualifier.
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'It will be a good game for us to play in and it will be a good test,' the Hexham-bred keeper told Celtic's official site. 'We want to hit the ground running at Celtic Park, but Norwich had a fantastic season last year and they will want to recreate that.
'It will be important we turn up and play because it will be a tough game. We saw that in the testimonial. Even though it was only a friendly, they've still got some very good players.
'I'm sure Chris Hughton will have got them all going and it's important for them to start the season well. I think there will be a bit of pressure on us playing at home too, so we will have to go out and play well.'
Meanwhile, Forster's Celtic team mate Kris Commons expects Norwich to push the Bhoys hard with Neil Lennon's men in the midst of some high-profile pre-season friendlies against the likes of Ajax, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
'Norwich proved they are no easy pushover in the top division,' he said. 'It will be another good test for us and another good indication as to where we are in terms of preparation. We have a lot of big games coming up and this is definitely one of the big ones. People will earmark Inter Milan and Real Madrid, but Norwich is another massive one.
'I'm not going to look at any and say one is going to be harder than another. They will all be big tests for us.'
Commons revealed the Canaries hold a special place in his personal football history after opening his goal account in the professional ranks against Norwich for Stoke in the early weeks of the 2002/03 season.
'I was 17 at the time and we were in the Championship,' he said. 'I picked the ball up just beyond the halfway line and played a little one-two with the forward and slid it into the bottom corner. Norwich were always a big team when they were in the Championship.
'They were always up there fighting for promotion so this was a big deal for me. I�ll never forget playing against them.'
Commons' maiden strike at the Britannia earned Stoke a 1-1 draw after a rare opening goal from Drury.
The Scotland international was part of the Celtic squad that travelled south for Drury's special night in May and the 28-year-old admits both sets of supporters helped generate a superb atmosphere.
'There was already a connection because of the two managers – Paul Lambert was at Norwich at the time and then Neil Lennon obviously, both being ex-team-mates, but it was nice to form an even stronger bond that night,' he said. 'The fans were magnificent the whole way through the game and I think both sets responded to each other well.'