Bruce expecting tough test at Norwich
Written by Luke Vinton
Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce expects a difficult encounter against Norwich City ahead of the Magpies' first Premier League away clash of the season.
United face the newly-promoted Canaries at Carrow Road on Saturday (kick-off 3pm BST), with the Magpies searching for their first victory of the season against Daniel Farke's Championship-winning side, who netted an eye-catching 93 goals in the second tier last term.
And whilst addressing his injury issues for the trip to East Anglia, Bruce - targeting his first competitive win in charge of the Magpies - is aware of the attacking qualities Norwich possess despite their 4-1 defeat at Liverpool on the opening day of the season.
Bruce said: "We think Jonjo Shelvey is going to be OK. He trained yesterday and the day before. We've got a slight doubt about Allan Saint-Maximin, who has a hamstring problem. We'll see how he is today but apart from that, we're as we were.
"It's never going to be easy. I think only Manchester City scored more goals than them last year. Their philosophy is 'we'll always score more than you' if you like. Like any promoted team, everybody's going to be excited and Norwich haven't been there for a few years so it's going to be difficult. Then again, the Premier League is always difficult.
"They were very different to a lot of teams in the Championship last year and ran away with it from the amount of goals they scored. We know what they are about and I don't think they're going to change.
"I think that's the philosophy of the way the manager wants to play so one of the things we're going to have to do is defend well but when they play that certain way, can we exploit them if we possibly can.
"Any game you're in, the one thing you need to have is a mentality that you have to try and win. If you just go down there and think we've got to defend well and not do something the other way, I think that would be wrong.
"We need to have that belief that we can go there and get a result. It took us a long time to get started last year so it would be wonderful to nick a result. We didn't win until November so it will be vitally important if we can get a few results. Let's hope we can get up and running tomorrow."
During his playing career, Bruce spent four seasons at Norwich during a successful spells in the 1980s, lifting the 1985 English League Cup in his debut season at City.
And, upon his return to Carrow Road, Bruce was highly appreciative of his years at the Canaries before joining Manchester United, notably winning twelve major trophies with the Red Devils, including three Premier League titles.
He added: "There's always a connection but I'll always be extremely grateful to Norwich. They gave me my opportunity when I played in the lower divisions for years.
"I didn't think I was going to get out of them. They gave me a big break to go and play in the mid-eighties. It was a long time ago but happy memories.
"I thought for long periods in my career, I was going to end up playing in the lower divisions and Norwich gave me a chance. I played alongside Chris Woods, Dave Watson, Asa Hartford, Mick Channon, John Deehan and Keith Bertschin.
"We had a very decent team and we won a cup in 1985, which is the only cup they've ever won. To be a part of it, it was a long time ago but I'll always be grateful."