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Norwich City aim high with new signings

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:15 06 July 2010

Size could be everything as Norwich City plot their way out of League One next season. The Canaries have already recruited 6ft 4in midfielder Owain Tudur Jones this week and look favourites to make 6ft 2in central defender Michael Nelson their third summer signing today.

Size could be everything as Norwich City plot their way out of League One next season.

The Canaries have already recruited 6ft 4in midfielder Owain Tudur Jones this week and look favourites to make 6ft 2in central defender Michael Nelson their third summer signing today.

Assistant manager Ian Butterworth - who has a wealth of experience in the Football League with Cardiff, Darlington and more recently Hartlepool - says that adding size to ability was paramount.

“When I first came here I saw the game at Doncaster before I officially joined and the first thing that hit me was the lack of height,” he said. “It's something that you could see straight away.

“When we went to Wolves in my first game we played well enough and got a good point, but they had half a dozen players of six-foot or more and we were holding on for our lives at the end as they kept pumping balls into our area.

“We had Gary Doherty at the back, Carl Cort up front, but not much else in the way of height.

“I'm not saying the physical side is everything, but if you can get good players with that attribute it will help. You do need a physical presence in several key positions.”

Tudur Jones would overshadow last season's midfield choices of Sammy Clingan, Darel Russell, Mark Fotheringham and Matty Pattison, although Butterworth insist there's more to the Wales international than just muscle and height.

“You need that height and physical presence in certain key positions,” said Butterworth. “Owain has got good feet and good technical ability and he comes highly recommended.

“Yes he has got a big physical presence, at 6ft 4in he will be useful in the middle of the park.

“He can play centre midfield where he has played most of his career, he has played at the back as well but he seems himself as a centre midfield player and that's where we see him as well.”

Nelson is believed to be close to completing a move to Carrow Road, with Gunn beating Scunthorpe to his signature. The chase for the 29-year-old free agent hotted up after he turned down a new deal at Hartlepool, where he played under Butterworth, but it is believed he has chosen Norwich ahead of the Championship newcomers because he wants to play in front of what could still be some of the Football League's biggest home crowds.

It means manager Bryan Gunn will have options in the central defensive positions which were constantly chopping and changing last season. Gary Doherty was an almost permanent fixture, suspensions aside, after overcoming his early injury absence, while the only other dedicated centre half on the books is Dejan Stefanovic, who is on his way back from a knee ligament injury which ended his season after just 12 games.

Michael Spillane is another option, although he could also be lined up for a role at right back or in centre-midfield if necessary.

Gunn is still waiting to bring in a new striker, with Robbie Simpson - who was reportedly to have been the makeweight in a deal which would have taken Sammy Clingan to Coventry - joining Huddersfield on a three-year deal yesterday.

“Robbie will give us a physical presence in attack,” said Terriers boss Lee Clark. “He works very hard and has a hammer of a right foot. I'm looking forward to working with him.”

City have also been linked to Derby's Liam Dickinson.

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