Cody's switch no surprise to Tanner

FORMER Witham and Maldon manager Russell Tanner says it is no surprise to him that Cody McDonald has been snapped up by Championship side Norwich City.

Stuart Watson

By Stuart Watson

FORMER Witham and Maldon manager Russell Tanner says it is no surprise to him that Cody McDonald has been snapped up by Championship side Norwich City.

Tanner first played alongside McDonald at Witham Town before later becoming the young striker's manager at the Essex club.


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The lightening quick front man soon became a key player at Spa Road, so much so that when Tanner left to take over at fellow Ryman League Division One North side and Essex rivals Maldon Town in 2007 he made it one of his first priorities to bring McDonald with him.

Tanner was sacked by Maldon last September following a poor run of results and a month later McDonald had signed for Ryman league Premier Division side Dartford.

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And after scoring 19 goals in 20 appearances this season, Norwich beat off the interest of a number of other Championship clubs to secure the 22-year-old's signature on transfer deadline day.

Tanner said: “When I first went to Witham as a player he was coming and going from the reserves. He was in the first team squad one week and then not the next, but when I took over the reigns he did a full pre-season's training and was soon in the team.

“He has always had great pace, but early on we had to work with him on his touch.

“Over time he has just got better and better though and it comes as no surprise to be honest that he has been snapped up by a professional club.”

Tanner is currently taking a break from the game, but admits that he has stayed in regular contact with Tanner since their respective careers took different paths five months ago.

“I've seen him a couple of times since I've left Maldon and we often speak on the phone,” said Tanner. “He was after my advice on where he should go last year and I told him a number of clubs, but credit to Dartford for having the foresight to sign him.

“He rang me the day after he signed for Norwich to thank me for the part I have played in his progress, which just goes to show the level of the guy.”

When asked if it was true that McDonald had indeed still been playing Sunday league park football as recently as two years ago, Tanner said: “I believe he was, but I made sure that one of the conditions when I signed him for Maldon was that he had to give that up. That just shows how hard he works though - he's so dedicated and I really hope it works out for him at Norwich.”

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