Norwich City full-back and summer signing Bali Mumba is eagerly anticipating Saturday’s curtain-raiser away to Luton Town in the Carabao Cup.
With 15 Canaries unavailable for the game through international duty, and Emi Buendia and Josip Drmic both set to miss out due to suspension, those involved will be desperate to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
Canaries.co.uk sat down with Mumba at Lotus Training Centre this week to preview the game, and find out more about how he’s settled into life as a Norwich City player.
canaries.co.uk: Bali, it’s been just over a month since you signed for Norwich City. How have you found your first few weeks at the club?
BM: It’s been great. I met the new lads and the older lads who have been here for the past seasons, so it’s been good getting to know everyone, building bonds and relationships with all of the players.
canaries.co.uk: What was it like going on the pre-season tour in Germany?
BM: That helped a lot. It got us all together and comfortable with each other. The energy in the group is great and everyone gets on with each other quite well. The new faces are getting on quite well so it’s very easy to get going and get started.
canaries.co.uk: We saw the go karting event and initiation songs, so it seemed like there was a lot of team bonding throughout the week?
BM: Yeah, there was a lot. We had a nice meal out after one of the training sessions, so after working hard we went out and had a good time. That helped to get everyone together, so all the shy lads were there buzzing and smiling. It was great to see really.
canaries.co.uk: How did you get on in the go karting?
BM: Go karting for me was terrible, I don’t want to speak about that! It was a nightmare, but it was great fun.
canaries.co.uk: We could hear Daniel Farke through the TV on the pre-season games shouting instructions from the touch-line. What have you found working under him to be like so far?
BM: It’s been good. Obviously, it’s a different playing style under the boss. Different teams have their own ways and structures of playing. With this team, I’m not fully there yet so I’m still trying to understand. There’s a lot of work to do and room to improve, so right now I’m just going to focus on understanding the way he wants me to play and the way he wants the team to play. I want to nail that down so I can progress.
canaries.co.uk: Has it been a challenge adapting to that style of play, or would you say you’re settling into it quickly?
BM: Yeah, I’d say I’m settling into it quickly. It took me a few games and training sessions to understand, but right now I feel like I’m in a good spot and have settled in.
canaries.co.uk: How has the intensity of the sessions at Lotus Training Centre been for you?
BM: It’s been good for me. It helps me as a player to get better and improve when you have that intensity and quality. The standard is so high, and as a young player it’s going to help you get more comfortable and able to improve.
canaries.co.uk: Have you had a chance to see much of the City of Norwich yet? We saw you visited the market with Matthew Dennis a few weeks ago!
BM: I’ve been around quite a few times, but obviously there’s still a lot more to explore. Some of the lads from the team like Jamal have been telling me about a few decent places that they know of to go to. I’ve still got a lot to explore.
canaries.co.uk: What would you say are the main differences and similarities being and playing here to when you were at Sunderland?
BM: Living here is a bit quiet, so it’s very different. Sunderland is a big town and quite open. Here, it’s quite quiet and everyone knows everyone. It’s good for a young player like me because I can really focus on training, going home and resting, and it puts away all the distractions that you get in a big town like Newcastle or Sunderland.
canaries.co.uk: This weekend, we have our first game of the season against Luton Town in the Carabao Cup. Alex Tettey told us after our final pre-season game that, with 15 players away on international duty, this will be a great opportunity for those involved to impress.
BM: Yeah, I’m excited for Saturday. It’s a big opportunity for the new faces and all the lads who are looking to get a start and impress. I see it as an opportunity to really show what I can do from the start and earn trust from the boss with the ability that I’ve got.
"If we work harder than them then there’s no doubt we can get the win"
canaries.co.uk: Do you know much about the opposition? Have you played against Luton before?
BM: I played them when I was at Sunderland once, so I know a little bit about them. They’re coming into the game eager to beat us, prove a point and show that they can beat us, but we just have to go into the game with the mentality that if we work harder than them then there’s no doubt we can get the win.