Norwich City ready for final dress rehearsal

Manager Chris Hughton was in good spirits yesterday as he prepared his Norwich City players for their final dress rehearsal ahead of the Premier League campaign.

Bundesliga big guns Borussia M�nchengladbach visit Carrow Road tomorrow (3pm) in the club's final pre-season friendly before the real business gets under way with the opening top-flight game at Fulham a week later.

But the Canaries were also in action in front of their home crowd yesterday when most of the senior squad took part in an open training session.

There was a double boost for Hughton with midfield pair David Fox and, to a lesser extent, Jacob Butterfield taking part in the public work-out.

Defender Elliott Ward and forward Wes Hoolahan were not involved, still recovering from knocks that forced them to miss Tuesday's 0-0 draw at Hull, with defender Steven Whittaker (ankle ligaments) and midfielder Tom Adeyemi (foot) the other injured absentees.

'The biggest concern over pre-season is that you don't pick up injuries.

'We picked up an injury to Steven Whittaker, which was a blow to us but we've been generally fairly injury free,' said Hughton.

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'David Fox is back training now so that's a big bonus for us.' About 1,500 fans turned up in the summer holiday sunshine for the event, held in aid of the Sporting Light Appeal and the club's academy, but the new boss knows he can expect a very different atmosphere in the stadium when Queens Park Rangers provide the opposition for the first home game on August 25.

'This is a wonderful opportunity for the kids, particularly as they're off school, to see the players. At some places the groundsman wouldn't allow you to do this,' said Hughton.

'Come the business part of the season, with the first home game a fortnight on Saturday, we want this place full and we want this place noisy.'

There were 21 outfield players and three goalkeepers taking part yesterday, performing various training exercises and routines and a 10-a-side match before rounding off the entertainment with a crossing and finishing session.

Fox completed the full session but Butterfield, yet to play a match for City as he recovers from a knee ligament injury he suffered playing for Barnsley against Leeds on New Year's Eve, sat out the practice game. Strikers Simeon Jackson, James Vaughan, Chris Martin and Steve Morison all found the net with some style – something they will look to replicate in the weeks ahead after the Canaries' tally of just six goals in six pre-season matches.

Defender Marc Tierney, who has not played a competitive first team game since the trip to Wolves on December 20, because of a groin injury that eventually needed surgery, told fans he was raring to go again.

'Literally at the end of the season, I managed to get sorted and get it done and it's been fine ever since and I'm just looking forward to the new season,' he said.

'We'll be playing against some of the best in Europe and the best in the world. We want to progress as a team and build and improve on what we did last year as well.'

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