Neil plans Hamilton loan deals

Date published: Tuesday 28th April 2015 3:24

The former Accies player-manager quit last January as he made his Carrow Road switch, leaving best friend Martin Canning to take over the reins at New Douglas Park.

Replacing Neil has been a hard act to follow but the Canaries boss hopes to make Canning’s life a little easier next season after revealing he is prepared to let Hamilton cherry pick from his teenage recruits.

Neil – who still hopes to lead Norwich back to the Premier League through the play-offs – said: “Hamilton for me is probably the best club in Scotland for giving young players a chance and a platform to become better players.

“Some of the best young players the country has produced in the past 10 years have come from Accies.

“So I would have absolutely no issue about sending some of our young lads up there to get first-team football if I felt they could do a job for Hamilton.

“I wouldn’t chuck anybody up – I’d only do it if I felt they could improve the side up there.

“It’s certainly something that is a possibility for next year. I’m sure Martin and I will sit down and talk about it at some stage.”

Neil’s 18-month stint in charge of Accies sparked a period of remarkable success.

The former club captain masterminded the shock play-off final victory over Hibernian 12 months ago which clinched their top-flight return.

The Premiership new boys even stormed to the top of the table for a brief few weeks after notching up a series of impressive wins – including their first victory at Celtic Park in 76 years.

But Canning has not had it so easy.

Friday’s 2-0 win over Lanarkshire rivals Motherwell was the 33-year-old’s first win as boss after 13 failed attempts.

That miserable run cost Canning’s team their top-six slot but Neil believes his mate will only kick on now that he has wrestled that monkey off his back.

He said: “When I was in charge, it was the most successful the club had been certainly since I can remember. We had a real good squad and were doing exceptionally well.

“So whoever came in afterwards was always going to have a tough job, especially because the team lost some key players. I was still playing, Tony Andreu was playing week-in, week out, as was Mikael Antoine-Curier.

“Martin has therefore lost three big players from the spine of his team and I think he has been judged unfairly.

“As well as that, the group Martin took over were probably over-achieving as well.

“Once he gets his own team up and running and the boys there adjust to what has happened they will do just fine. I think you can only really judge him on what happens next season. But I’m certain they will do well.”

Neil has taken his successful brand of leadership from Scotland to East Anglia.

Fourteen wins from 21 games in charge have re-energised a promotion bid which was in danger of falling flat under previous boss Neil Adams.

However, things have not gone so smoothly for striker Andreu, who followed Neil south from Hamilton but has made just six appearances from the bench.

“Tony has gone through an adjustment period,” said Neil. “James McCarthy and James McArthur did the same when they left Hamilton and moved south.

“The game’s a lot different down here – it’s very physical with a lot of quick, strong players.

“The problem I have at the moment is that I haven’t got time to let people adapt because we need to win every game.

“So that’s been difficult for Tony but we will see the best of him next season. I’ve no doubt about that.”

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