BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Norwich prospect Conor McGrandles has rejoined Falkirk on loan until the end of the season – and immediately set his sights on firing the Bairns back to the top-flight.
The 20-year-old departed the Scottish Championship outfit in August 2014, making a £1 million switch to Carrow Road.
He agreed a three-year deal with the Canaries, with the option of a further season, however McGrandles has found first-team opportunities few and far between south of the border, making just one appearance.
Norwich boss Alex Neil agreed to let the youngster leave on loan and, despite options in the Premiership, McGrandles chose to return to promotion-chasing Falkirk ahead of their clash with Hibernian on Sunday.
And, having watched their recent 2-1 win over Rangers, he sees no reasons the Bairns cannot challenge for the title.
The gifted playmaker said: “That’s one of the reasons I am here – I really believe we can get back to the Premiership. Hopefully I can help them do that.
“I definitely think we can compete up there. Rangers are top of the league at the moment and I thought Falkirk were the better team on the day when they played.
“We don’t need to fear anyone. I have watched every Falkirk game that has been on TV because I like to see how the boys are doing – and every time I’ve watched them I have been really impressed. Hopefully I can add to the options.”
Academy product McGrandles made 87 appearances for Falkirk during his first spell at the club, scoring eight goals and helping the club to a Scottish Cup semi final in 2013.
And he is ready to be pitched straight into a fraught promotion race this weekend as the Bairns, just three points off the top of the table, host Hibs in front of the BT Sport cameras.
McGrandles continued: “It’s a massive game to come into and hopefully I can train well this week and get involved in the squad again.
“We were involved in a good promotion battle in the season before I left, so I know what it’s like and how it feels. I want to be part of that again.”
Returning to Scotland 18 months after his departure, McGrandles admits he needed to secure first-team football for the rest of this campaign.
He told Falkirk TV: “It’s been a really good experience for me at Norwich and I’ve learned a lot down there, but I just feel like I had to go somewhere and play regularly. Falkirk will hopefully give me that opportunity.”
McGrandles becomes Peter Houston’s first signing of the January transfer window, albeit he has tabled a bid for former West Ham and Kayserispor keeper Deniz Mehmet.
The Bairns boss added: “I’m very pleased to be able to bring Conor back to the club.
“He’s an extremely talented player who hasn’t quite had his break yet at Norwich and we feel that we can offer him the platform to get back to playing regular first team football.
“He’s a player that we of course know all about and I feel he can add to our squad. I’m sure it is a signing that will excite the fans.”