Alex Neil confirms Robbie Brady is in Norwich City's squad for Blues' test after being touted with Burnley exit; updates on Mitchell Dijks and Marvin Zeegelaar
PUBLISHED: 15:52 27 January 2017 | UPDATED: 16:26 27 January 2017
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Robbie Brady is in Norwich City's squad for the Championship game against Birmingham after Alex Neil played down reports the Irishman is Burnley-bound.
Neil would not be drawn on speculation Brady has already undergone a medical and agreed personal terms on a potential club-record Turf Moor switch, but did confirm the Dubliner trained on Friday morning.
Brady is set to again feature at left-back with City drawing a blank in recent days on moves for Marvin Zeegelaar and Mitchell Dijks.
“There is a lot of speculation around Robbie. Hence the reason why we are looking at left-backs,” said Neil, speaking at Colney. “We are tying to recruit left-backs. We let Martin (Olsson) go but we have another guy who can play left-back still here. We also have cover in terms of Steven Whittaker. It is not a case we have bodies that can’t operate on that side. Robbie Brady trained this morning. He is in the squad for Saturday. At the moment nothing is going to happen in or out before the weekend. It might change. We are at a crunch time in the window when things can literally happen.
“Listen, we have been speaking to players and trying to attract players in the left-back position. We all know the speculation surrounding Robbie so we are obviously doing our work to make that position stronger. Zeegelaar and Dijks are players we have had an interest in. In terms of them both being here and having talks that is not entirely accurate. We have spoken to Mitchell Dijks, yes. We had spoken to Zeegelaar before but he hadn’t been here. It looks like those two (deals) are dead.”
Neil insisted City’s mid-table Championship status was not the reason both snubbed a potential Carrow Road move, after agreeing fees with both Sporting and Ajax.
“I don’t accept that we are ‘little Norwich’ and we are trying to attract these big, huge players,” he said. “We have taken players from bigger clubs than they are at. Simple as that. Nelson Oliveira came from Benfica, Timm Klose from Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga.
“What happens with players as much as clubs is players enter negotiations at times knowing they have something else in mind or another club in mind. They are not always as upfront or honest as they might seem. If you are a player and you have three clubs interested you would speak to all three and hope your preferred one lands. It is not necessarily the case they are desperate to come to you just because you have entered into negotiations. That happens on occasion.
“Equally if we are looking for a left-back are we going to take both? No. What you do is spread your net and we try to take them to an end point. There will be plenty no-one hears about because either we or a player don’t want it to happen. That is the way football works. If you go for one player only and don’t get him then you are in bother. Players are the same.
“I have a list of left-backs as long as my arm. I am not saying they are top of my target list because things are always happening. They are the two who have made public comments. That is the only difference. That doesn’t change. What happens is agents get a bit naughty at times and put things out in the press to show their client is in demand.”
Neil also revealed James Maddison has requested the chance to stay at his parent club rather than potentially return to Aberdeen on loan ahead of next week’s transfer window deadline.
“James wants to remain here,” he said. “He doesn’t want to go out on loan. I was saying to him it might be likely that he goes out and James tells me he doesn’t want to go out. I wouldn’t force a lad to go out against his will because he has to have that appetite to go and play but James feels he is improving here and his future lies here in terms of breaking into our first team.
“Now he understands at the moment there are certain players ahead of him but he is determined to work ever so hard to work his way into the team. That is good news. He will not go anywhere between now and Tuesday.”