Oliver Norburn's a better player now, says Bristol Rovers boss Mark McGhee
Mark McGhee believes Bristol Rovers have picked up an improved Oliver Norburn after yesterday completing a permanent deal to bring the midfielder back to the Memorial Stadium.
Norburn, 19, put pen to paper on a one-year-deal to leave Leicester City and return to Rovers – for whom he played six times during a three-month loan spell last season.
The midfielder endured a frustrating time in his last spell at the Memorial Stadium. He was drafted in by former boss Paul Buckle, only to then kick his heels on the sidelines for most of his time at the club.
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Norburn was replaced after only 33 minutes of his full senior debut as a struggling Rovers slumped 3-0 at home to Port Vale last October, but McGhee said: "I'm confident that what the supporters saw then was only a shadow of the player I think Ollie can be.
"He's in a lot better shape physically than he was at that time and, mentally, he's much more determined than perhaps he was then.
"As a permanent signing, I expect him to be fully committed to what we are trying to do here. He's a footballer, which we need as much as muscle; we need people to pass the ball and create the play and we hope Ollie will do that for us."
Norburn insists he is looking forward to the chance of senior football again after being confined to sporadic reserve-team appearances following his return to Leicester at the turn of the year.
"I played five or six reserve games, so I'm pleased to get an opportunity to kick on with my career now," he said.
"I'm feeling a lot fitter than I was the last time I was here and am aiming to play games on a regular basis. I was delighted to sign after speaking to the manager.
"He turned the club around when he came in midway through last season and everybody I've spoken to has said they enjoyed playing for him.
"It didn't take me long to make my mind up because I enjoyed everything about my time at Rovers, other than the fact I didn't play as many games as I'd have liked.
"It was quite a hard time at the club back then and the manager (Buckle) was under a bit of pressure, although that is no excuse.
"We're back at training on Thursday and it is a fresh start for all of us."
Midfielder Wayne Brown, meanwhile, is determined to prove he has a long-term future at Rovers after agreeing a six-month deal to stay at the club. McGhee was unable to fully assess Brown's capabilities because the former Fulham man spent most of last season recovering from a broken ankle.
"I'm glad it's sorted now," Brown said. "I know that it's only a six-month contract, but I'm looking on the positive side of things. I had a bad injury last year and the manager hasn't seen too much of me. He's been great with me, though, and given me the opportunity to come back and prove my fitness and show him what I can do."