The opening of the January transfer window may still be some six hours distant, but that didn't stop Paul Gallacher becoming the first move of note this afternoon after his Canary contract was cancelled “by mutual consent”.
In theory, it is not a move as such. The 28-year-old, one-time Scottish international keeper merely becomes a free agent after his Carrow Road deal ends six months earlier than scheduled. With “immediate effect”, to quote www.canaries.co.uk.
In practice, however, today's news should merely hasten a full-time switch to East End Park where Gallacher has been enjoying a half season-long loan spell with struggling Dunfermline.
Speaking earlier this week, the former Dundee United favourite made it very clear that he wished to remain with the Pars and if one little hurdle could be overcome between his agent and his full-time employers back in Norfolk, so the way would be clear for Gallacher to join Jim McIntyre's fight against relegation on a full-time basis.
“I definitely want to stay,” he told the official Dunfermline website this week, as injury to Pars' regular No1 Roddy McKenzie gives Gallacher the chance to relaunch his goalkeeping career back home north of the border.
“Roddy is out with a long-term injury,” he added. “It's unfortunate for him being injured – it is never nice. But it opens the door for myself and Sean (Murdoch) and I'm loving getting the chance to play football at a decent standard.”
Gallacher 'enjoyed' a torrid time under ex-City boss Peter Grant – finding himself in and out of the team on four seperate occasions as one loan keeper followed another.
Originally signed by Grant's predecessor Nigel Worthington as cover for Robert Green, Gallacher stepped into the breach following Green's big-money switch to West Ham United but never quite made the position his own.
Grant wasted little time in ousting him as he whistled up Portsmouth stopper Jamie Ashdown – only for him to be dismissed in the 5-0 horror show at Stoke City. That prompted Gallacher's reinstatement – only for the luckless Scotsman to be ousted again once David Marshall arrived on loan from Celtic following the collapse of a longer loan stay for Ashdown.
In the meantime, Derby's Lee Camp was still floating about the place – merely adding to the general confusion as keepers came and went with every passing month.
Marshall's ankle injury in the FA Cup trip to Chelsea forced Grant to go back to Gallacher again, only to then sideline him again before the end of the season when Tony Warner arrived on loan from Fulham.
Marshall's big money switch south this summer – plus the arrival of Matty Gilks from Rochdale – proved the final nails in Gallacher's Canary coffin and it would have come as something of a blessed relief when he was shipped out on a half-season long loan to Dunfermline this summer.
The change of manager was never likely to alter his place in the pecking order as Joe Lewis won himself a call-up to the England Under-21 set-up on the back of his performances on loan at League Two Morecombe.
The giant keeper is now back at Colney his own loan spell having ended. And with City boss Glenn Roeder having long made it clear that the Brome-born youngster will not be leaving his sight again after the recent injury to Gilks left him with just the teenage Steve Arnold for cover, so there was never likely to be much room at the inn for the returning Gallacher.
Lewis is expected to be on the bench at Selhurst Park tomorrow.
Whether Gallacher proves to be the last Colney Scotsman to return north of the border is also going to be of interest. No, would appear to be the general feeling.
Ian Murray has already been widely linked to a move home as the former Rangers utility man continues to figure less than large in Roeder's first team thinking. And while Simon Lappin has vowed to stay and fight for his place, Roeder's remark last week that Mo Camara was the only dedicated left-back in the building suggests that he too may be made available for offers this January.
Ditto Julien Brellier. Not Scots by birth, but the one-time Hearts enforcer could likewise be following both Gallacher and potentially Murray home.
Gallacher's exit, Lewis' return, Gilks' injury and the 'holiday' absence of Jim Hollman all ensures it is a lively start to the New Year for the club's goalkeeping department. Roeder again stressed that Hollman was still in position until anyone was informed otherwise as he ruled out moves for both his ex-Newcastle United stopper Pavel Srnicek and veteran keeper Mark Crossley – both of whom had been linked to the non-existent goalkeeping coach 'vacancy' at Carrow Road.