Norwich City focus on the ones left behind
As Norwich City retreat to their week-long pre-season training camp in Germany, attention here will turn to the players left behind.
Promising youngsters, first team regulars and summer signings all got to blow away the cobwebs at Gorleston on Saturday – before the more experienced Premier League contenders got busy with double sessions on the Teistungen training pitches on Monday ahead of two friendlies on foreign soil.
But back in Norfolk there are unanswered questions over those not selected for the 7-0 opener at Emerald Park, nor City's trip to Germany.
That group is expected to get game time this week, with Canaries XI sides travelling to Ridgeons Premier outfit Wroxham Tuesday night (7.30pm) and Blue Square Conference North's Histon on Thursday (7.30pm) – assuming its look changes from the City XI that won 4-2 at Norwich United at the weekend.
It should mean City fans and talent scouts alike will take an active interest in proceedings at Trafford Park and the Glass World Stadium this week – as much on who appears and who remains out of action.
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On Saturday, City boss Paul Lambert put the absences of Cody McDonald, Oli Johnson, Stephen Hughes, Steve Smith and Owain Tudur Jones down to his team-sheet already being full. Whether it was injury or a similar fate that befell Anthony McNamee is yet to be answered.
But if that was the situation for a game where 26 players were handed some sort of run out, it begs the question: Will the absent troop fare any better once the competitive action gets going?
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- 4 Part of A47 closed after concerns for woman’s welfare
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- 8 'Second time this year' - Armed police called to Norwich street
- 9 Bargain Hunt films at Norfolk collectables shop
- 10 Norfolk man found drunk at wheel twice in less than a month
This week's games in East Anglia should come in handy for the missing men. The interest for City fans now will be who hangs around on the sidelines, leaves for pastures new or is offered up for a tidy fee.
McDonald is the asset most in demand, linked with a host of clubs during the summer thanks to a prolific season with Gillingham. Peterborough United have come closest to securing his signature, only to baulk at the �550,000 asking price.
Oli Johnson at one time seemed destined to be the make-weight in City's failed bid for Craig Mackail-Smith. The striker may hope a similar opportunity comes along again soon.
For Stephen Hughes and Steven Smith, being on the fringes of a Premier League set-up may offer – and indeed pay – more than a switch to Aberdeen, while Owain Tudur Jones has been out of contention at Carrow Road for some time, yet has a year to run on his current deal.
There are clearly some big decisions to be made on where futures lie.
However, for Luke Daley the issue will be resolved soon. The 21-year-old Academy product is set to sign a one-year deal at League Two Plymouth after a successful trial, once rubber stamped by Argyle's administrators.