Norwich City’s young guns primed to hit the high road

Tony Andreu followed Alex Neil from Hamilton to Norwich City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Image

Tony Andreu followed Alex Neil from Hamilton to Norwich City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Hamilton chief Martin Canning is ready to tap into his old pals' act with Norwich City boss Alex Neil to entice some of the Canaries' brightest young talent north on loan this coming season.

Canning replaced Neil as player/manager at New Douglas Park following Neil's successful Carrow Road move in January, but the duo remain close friends, with Canning at Wembley to watch City's memorable play-off final triumph against Middlesbrough in May.

The Accies' rookie boss revealed he has held discussions with Neil that could pave the way for some of City's development squad to test themselves in the Scottish Premiership.

'We've spoken once or twice about that this summer and if it is possible to do something then of course it is something that could benefit both parties,' said Canning. 'Last season we lost quite a few players, and key players at that, so we're still trying to replace them.

'I think we need a couple of strikers, a midfielder and a defender. There is a couple out there we have our eye on and we hope to be able to do something.'

Canning endured a testing start to his own managerial career, with only three league wins after Neil's departure, but the Hamilton chief is drawing inspiration from his friend.

'You look at Alex and Tony (Andreu) and Stephen Hendrie now down at West Ham all in the Premier League and that has to be an inspiration, to see the platform is there,' he said. 'If you go and perform then it shows we have a track record of moving guys onto a very high level. Everybody here is right behind them and supporting them.'

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Canning is confident he will prove a worthy long-term successor to Neil at Hamilton, ahead of his first full season in charge.

'It is a big challenge for us because second time around no-one is going to underestimate us,' he said. 'We have a great bunch of boys, they are committed, they have come back in great shape, which makes my job a lot easier.

'We lost a couple of players as well as the manager and coach midway through last season and that didn't help. That was a huge learning curve for me, but I became a better manager for it and a better person.'