Photo gallery: Norwich City players return to Colney for pre-season training
- Credit: copyright: Archant 2014
First impressions count for Neil Adams as he puts his Norwich City players through their pre-season paces.
The majority of the Canaries' first team squad underwent personal fitness tests last week prior to a full-scale return to Colney over the last few days, as Adams and his coaching team look to put in the groundwork ahead of the Championship opener at Wolves on August 10.
Norwich will now step up their preparations with a four-day trip to the FA's national football centre at St George's Park, and the City boss is delighted by the early signs.
'They look excellent,' he said. 'They were in for testing individually on Thursday and Friday. We put them through a two-hour time slot and worked them on the treadmill and various other exercises.
'Speaking to the sports scientists they are delighted and tell me they are better at this stage than last year in terms of fitness levels as a group which is very pleasing to hear. We've done one tough double session on Monday as well and they looked sharp so I am pleased.'
Adams hopes to make a goalkeeping addition to his backroom set-up for the trip to Burton after England coach Dave Watson completed his move to Premier League Southampton.
'Dave was an excellent coach and the fact he was with England at the World Cup tells you how highly he is regarded,' said Adams. 'He has managed to go to a Premier League club and we wish him all the best. Again, it is one of those you can't really stand in his way with the level he has been working at in Brazil. We now have to get some cover in quickly. We should have some in by over the next day or so Whether that is permanent or temporary it needs looking at straight away. That is the priority for now.
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'I'm really pleased with the team we have put together. We have Gary (Holt) and Mark (Robson) to do the coaching and it is great Gary has come back in after his time at Falkirk. Joe Royle is someone I have huge respect for, as everyone knows. He has almost an encyclopaedic knowledge of the game. You can see why I have brought him in as a consultant to help me in every way he can.'
Watson has linked up with former Canaries' first team coach Martin Huner and ex-Liverpool assistant manager Sammy Lee on the south coast as part of new Saints' boss Ronald Koeman's coaching staff.
'Despite his relatively young age, Dave has already built up an impressive CV and is regarded as one of the most talented goalkeeping coaches in Europe,' said Southampton's executive director Les Reed. 'The fact we have been able to attract Sammy and Dave to Southampton is testament to our ambition to continue growing as a club, and shows our commitment to develop talented footballers at all age levels.'