Worthy’s new man

CHRIS LAKEY Martin Hunter began work as Norwich City's new first team coach yesterday - and said he would not be making sweeping changes to the club's current regimen.


Martin Hunter began work as Norwich City's new first team coach yesterday - and said he would not be making sweeping changes to the club's current regimen.

Hunter, who returned from the World Cup in Germany last week, was unveiled to the local media having fulfilled his commitments to the FA before taking on the role vacated by the sacking of Steve Foley at the end of last season.

Hunter is no stranger to the Colney Training Centre. He has been a regular visitor during Nigel Worthington's five-year reign in his capacity as an FA-employed coach at the invitation of the City manager and he knows a number of the players. But he insists there won't be wholesale changes.

"My biggest strength is coaching, that is why Nigel has brought me in," he said. "I use a lot of the techniques that the club are using now and just add little bits on. I am not going to come here and revolutionise things because it is not needed, just adding on to what is already a stable base."

Hunter - an assistant manager at Stoke and Bradford - has worked with City youngsters Ryan Jarvis, Ian Henderson and Joe Lewis in his capacity as England under-19 coach, but has never ventured into management.

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The man who joins a management trio completed by assistant Doug Livermore adds that his arrival won't necessarily spark a change in the way City play.

"I know Nigel has a way of playing which I will fit into," he said. "When this club has done well it has defended well and it has attacked well. I don't think you can say you are one or the other, you need both."

Worthington has known Hunter since his own playing days in Yorkshire with Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds, their paths crossing again when Worthington took over at Carrow Road more than five years ago.

"Since I have been at Norwich City Martin has been down here on several occasions as part of his FA work and partly as an invite from myself," said Worthington. "Where he came in it was a change of voice, a change of ideas, and the opportunity arose to bring Martin in in a full-time situation.

"I look forward to working with him a hell of a lot because I think we are in an environment where we are always learning and I am looking forward to the challenge ahead with the staff, the players and now Martin."

Both number among the 90 men in English football who hold the prestigious UEFA Pro Licence - Hunter was in the first batch of 15 to attain it, Worthington the second - and the chance of putting the two together at the same club was one which neither could resist.

Hunter added: "We have known each other for quite a long time professionally so when the opportunity came I knew exactly what I was letting myself in for - so I jumped at the chance.

"You don't get offers like this often so knowing the club and knowing him as a manager - not an issue. I'm delighted to be asked to work here."

"I had a fair idea when we were going to make the change," added Worthington. "I had thought about the situation and having had Martin down here on several occasions and having known him for a long time and the qualities he possesses as a man and as a football coach and the things we can learn from him, he was very much my number one target.

"I had others in mind in case Martin was quite happy at the FA, but certainly he was number one as far as the situation was concerned."

Hunter had been in Germany scouting for Sven-Goran Eriksson but said he had no regrets about leaving the England set-up.

"You get times in your career when you want to move on," he said. "The biggest challenge as a coach is the day to day routine of working with the players. It is fine with England but you are not meeting up for six weeks or longer.

"The beauty of working at a club like this is that the games will come thick and fast. If we win we are all delighted by that, if you don't then you have a few days to put things right and that's a great attraction. Also the club is very stable - and it also has a spine of talented players."