City boss Glenn Roeder was expecting a busy afternoon on the phone today as he looked to extend the loan deals for Messrs Evans, Pattison, Smith and Camara.
All four are coming to the end of their existing loan arrangements with the Carrow Road club.
But with all four likely to again figure large in Roeder's starting plans for tomorrow's home clash with Wolves, so the City chief was clearly in a mood to do business – providing he could drag each and every one of their respective managers to the phone later today.
“I will be talking to Paul Jewell about Mo (Camara) – the same as I'll be talking to Sam Allardyce a Newcastle about Pattison,” said Roeder, as he started to put his New Year shopping plans in motion.
Pattison looks the easiest one to nail down to a full-time deal; the others may yet all prove to be loans until the end of the season. Whether Roeder returns to Birmingham City for further talks regarding Martin Taylor remains to be seen – but the 28-year-old centre-half certainly remains in his thoughts after his successful loan spell in Norfolk.
Indeed, Roeder admitted this morning that he would not be averse to bringing in two centre-halves next month – if only to keep everyone firmly on their toes.
“All the loans have done well – and that obviously includes Martin who's gone back to Birmingham to play in the reserves,” said Roeder, heavy on 'play in the reserves….' line.
“And I think the loan signings have had a major influence on what has happened here over the last six or seven weeks.”
Today might not prove to be D-Day, but Roeder was clearly intent on making certain steps forward before the day was out.
“I'd like to have some progress made on all of them by the end of play today,” he said. “I'll be trying to speak to everyone today – Frank Arnesen (Chelsea), Paul Jewell (Derby), Allardyce – if he takes a call – and Sven (Goran Eriksson). Though it'll probably be Tord (Grip).”
Roeder has already spoken twice to Eriksson's long-time No2 and the pair were due to speak again re Evans' future “after the Boxing Day game”.
Famous last words, but from where Roeder sits he could not see too many problems tying down deals for all four. Chelsea's African Cup of Nations commitments could throw a spanner in the Smith works; otherwise, they all have a logic to them.
“Until the ink's dried, you never know do you?” said Roeder, that lesson learnt via City's on-going run-in with Ms Brady over Taylor's long-term future.
“But I can't see why any one of them would want to take them back – for different reasons.
“Ched Evans is perhaps getting even more football than Sven thought he would so I can't see why he would want to pull him back – they seem to have plenty of strikers at Manchester City.
“Pattison at this stage of his career is a very good Championship player; I can't see how at this moment Sam Allardyce would really benefit from taking him back to Newcastle in their present situation and the pressure that he's under.”
As for Camara, who probably enjoyed his best game in a City shirt against the Addicks, the fact that he still has 18 months to run on his current Rams deal may yet rule out a full-time switch. It would not, Roeder hoped, rule out a season-long loan deal – unless, of course, new Derby boss Jewell wanted to take a look at the player himself.
“He's 32 and with Mo it may be a question of whether we can keep him until the end of the year – at 32 there's no need to be rushing into things.”
What is clear is that the revolving door at Colney could be in full swing over the next five weeks as the new Canary chief rids himself of one or two of the flotsam and jetsam left by his predecessor – as well as looks to build again on the healthy competition for places that his foray into the loan market has already achieved.
“I think the motivational tool of having pressure on your places is as good as anything,” he said, a situation he noted that now doesn't apply to either of his centre-halves – or his two full-backs. All of which might suggest that both Ian Murray and Simon Lappin could be heading home to Scotland in the New Year.
“We definitely had a situation here where players knew that they were going to play – and that is so unhealthy.
“Doc (Gary Doherty) has been outstanding over recent weeks, but we are operating with two central defenders. So that's an obvious position where we do need to bring in. And I wouldn't be against bringing two central defenders in.
“Mo at the moment is the only left-back. Basically Johnno (Jon Otsemobor) is the only right-back – without trying to make someone a right-back.”
Roeder may also be in the market for a new goalkeeping coach with Jim Hollman currently being referred to as “being on holiday” – hence the sight of the club's 'liason officer' Bryan Gunn warming up City No1 David Marshall at both Scunthorpe United and again against Charlton.
“When the club has something definte to say about Jim (Hollman), we will. But Gunny's helping out at the moment – he's got great experience in that position and I think he enjoyed himself,” said Roeder, dropping big hints that there is more to come on that story.
As for injuries, Mark Fotheringham remains Roeder's lone concern ahead of the Wolves game after missing the Addicks match with a tight hamstring.
“Fozzy's 50-50 – which is not a good sign when I say 50-50,” said Roeder. “If somebody's not 100% they just don't get through these days – not with the the tempo and the pace that the game's played at.
“And he's done so well Fotheringham that I wouldn't risk breaking him down on Saturday – and the two central midfield players did very, very well against Charlton. So there isn't a need to take a chance.”