City boss Glenn Roeder was giving little away transfer window-wise after yesterday's 1-1 draw with Bury.
Inevitably, the fact that both Joe Lewis and Chris Brown were nowhere to be seen fuelled speculation that the pair's absence was of the 'Don't want to get them cup-tied…' nature, as opposed to anything more straight-forward than form and fitness.
Provided his New Year stomach bug was, indeed, of the 48-hour variety as the City boss suggested at Selhurst Park, on any other weekend Lewis would have been ahead of Steven Arnold in the pecking order and would, therefore, have been due to sit on the bench were it not for Peterborough's ?400,000 approach for the England Under-21 keeper.
By simpling allowing player and Posh to talk, Norwich have – in effect – given the green light to the move. It should, in theory, go through tomorrow if Lewis can see the advantage in taking two steps back to, potentially, take two or three forward in 18 months time.
With Matty Gilks fast returning to fitness and David Marshall a fairly immovable object of late as Norwich's established No1, if the Brome-born keeper is to keep himself in the eye of England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce he needs to be playing games. And having got into the Under-21 set-up from Morecombe's Christie Park home, there is no reason whatsoever why he can't do it again from London Road
As for Brown he, too, ought to have been ahead of Ryan Jarvis in the natural scheme of things. Linked to a switch to Doncaster Rovers by Radio Sheffield in mid-week, he had another reported suitor come the weekend in the shape of Preston North End, who suddenly had a vacancy for a target-man type after watching Patrick Agyemang disappear off to Queen's Park Rangers.
Brown, of course, is one of the so-called 'Home Park Six' who did himself few favours with the new regime either away at Plymouth where he had a 45-minute run out or, indeed, in the recent reserve humbling by neighbours Ipswich Town.
With just one goal from his two dozen City appearances, you get the distict impression that Roeder has bigger and better individuals in mind for that second striker's berth and if he can get anything near the ?325,000 Peter Grant paid for his services this time last year, then the City chief will look to do business.
Put such a sum next to Peterborough's record-breaking transfer fee for Lewis' signature and the ?750,000 bid for Martin Taylor's services that still sits on Karren Brady's desk has all but been reached by the potential exits of Messrs Brown and Lewis.
Quizzed as to whether anything had changed over the last 36 hours since the Canary boss unveiled Matty Pattison on a full-time basis and then added Chelsea youngster Ryan Bertrand to his loan collection, Roeder suggested that – behind the scenes – much was still going on. For now, however, there was nothing official to report.
“Has anythigng changed over the last 36 hours? No, but that doesn't mean that we haven't been working hard over the last 36 hours – which we have been,” said Roeder.
“But there isn't anything to report at the moment.”
There was, it seemed, something to report in deepest Eastern Europe where, as the Bulgarian speakers will confirm, the names of Norwich City and Glenn Roeder were put in the same sentence as 27-year-old CSKA Sofia centre-half Valentin Iliev.
The name 'Watford' also figured large and a David Strihavka-like, one million euro style price tag.
The suggestion in Norfolk tonight was, however, that Roeder's interest was purely of the 'have a look…' variety as the six-foot, one-inch defender – capped 11 times by Bulgaria – is lined up for little more than a trial.
Again – as the Canaries have already found to their potential considerable cost with Strihavka – the difficulty comes in judging the standard of East European football from a distance.
In fairness to Iliev, he has a spectacular Champions League strike against Liverpool to his credit for CSKA and – on the international stage – Bulgaria finished a creditable third behind Rumania and Holland in Group G of the recent Euro2008 qualifiers with Iliev figuring twice in the course of their campaign.
CSKA also top the Bulgarian league by ten clear points and with the January transfer window falling conveniently at the same time as Bulgaria's mid-winter break, so player and agent have clearly taken the opportunity to – potentially – head for the New Year sales.
Roeder has certainly made no secret of his need to bring in fresh bodies at centre-half and events of this weekend will have done little to alter his thinking after a slight knock to Jason Shackell forced the City chief to haul 38-year-old Dion Dublin in to partner Gary Doherty – a situation he will be loathe to continue come February 1. Iliev may have a week or so to prove his point after which a similar trial at Vicarage Road could beckon.
Finally, Roeder confirmed that the Canaries were actively seeking a new goalkeeping coach following Jim Hollman's exit with immediate effect last week.
“Jim has left the club,” said Roeder, not about to explain any more. “We don't need to elaborate on that, but we are looking for a new goalkeeping coach.”
He also ruled out a move for Tommy Wright after the Ballymena United boss found himself linked to a two-and-a-half year deal at Norwich. “The reports on Tommy Wright were wide of the mark – he's not joining us,” said the City boss, with Bryan Gunn earmarked to continue in that role until a Hollman replacement can be found.
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