Worthy: Tonight is Craig's night

CHRIS LAKEY Nigel Worthington paid tribute to his club skipper by declaring that tonight is Craig Fleming's night.


Nigel Worthington paid tribute to his club skipper by declaring that tonight is Craig Fleming's night.

Both Norwich and Newcastle will be treating the match as a pre-season friendly, without the gimmicks and that make some “friendly” matches less than competitive.

City boss Worthington will be playing it straight for the team's first home game of the summer after matches at Fakenham and Cambridge and the two Scottish tour matches.

“There won't be any toing and froing, there will be a group out there,” he said. “There might be two or three changes, but there won't be a team out for the first half and a team out for the second half. This will be a full blown pre-season game for Norwich City.”

However, he added: “Flem will play a good part of the game. It is his night, and basically within reason he can do what he wants. If he wants the armband he will have it. He is in charge.”

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Worthington knows Fleming not just as his manager but also as a former opponent.

“I remember Craig as a player, him being a right-back for Oldham and me being a left back for Sheffield Wednesday,” said Worthington. “I suppose Craig was a bit like myself as a player, very consistent, steady-Eddie performer, one that managers like to have around the football club.

“When I first came here as coach, Fleming was always one of the first names on the team sheet, from that very point of view, an excellent professional in the club and out of the club, good in the dressing room from the point of view of younger players. When you have those qualities not only as a footballer but as a person they are great qualities to have.”

Worthington has pretty much a full squad to choose from tonight, although teenager Rossi Jarvis has a thigh strain and joins goalkeeper Robert Green and defender Matthieu Louis-Jean on the sidelines.

City have a decent recent record against Newcastle, having faced them three times during the Premiership campaign - beating them at Carrow Road in April 2004, having drawn 2-2 at St James Park early in the season. The only defeat was a 2-1 loss in the Carling Cup.

“It was a very good contest whilst we were in there,” said Worthington. “They had a difficult year, like ourselves, last year and they are trying to redress the situation. We will be looking at it from the point of view of a very useful exercise football wise and workwise and we'll be going into it with that mentality.”