City boss Glenn Roeder revealed that he was expecting another busy week in the transfer market as the dust settled on his latest away-day triumph.
Yesterday's 3-1 win at Oakwell – Barnsley's first home defeat in 12 games – kept the Canaries powering away from the danger-zone. And while City's remarkable second-half turnaround would have been one of the major points of discussion on the long journey home, where next in the transfer window would have been the other.
Last week and it was the exit door that proved by far the busier as kid keeper Joe Lewis and goal-shy striker Chris Brown left for a combined fee of ?800,000, whilst the contracts of both home-sick Czech striker David Strihavka and French midfield enforcer Julien Brellier were cancelled.
Ched Evans' surprise return from Eastlands was the one in-coming face. That, said Roeder, was about to change. Was he expecting another busy week in the window.
“I hope so,” he said, this morning linked to a ?500,000 bid for six-foot four-inch Argentinian striker Alejandro Delorte by the News Of The World.
“I really hope to have at least two new faces available for selection against Leicester,” added the City chief. “And that's important.
“While players won't freely admit to wanting competition for their places, deep down that's what they really want. And I always think that when you bring new faces into a club, it gives everyone a lift. Because the players that are already there want to show the new players how good they are.
“And the new players want to impress the players that are already at the club. And that gives a lovely, high motivation to training every day which is what we set out to do.”
Given that the Canaries last chase of something exotic – Bulgarian international Valentin Iliev – ended mired in potential Home Office red tape, quite how the 29-year-old Delorte and work permit will fit in the same sentence will be interesting. In common with many South Americans, the Argentinos Juniors star could have a dual nationality. A brief spell in Italy last year could point in that direction.
The sight of Martin Taylor being used as an unused substitute in Birmingham City's creditable 1-1 draw at Premiership leaders Arsenal could yet see one of Roeder's longer-term transfer targets slip back into Alex McLeish's thinking. Nothing, in short, is likely to be either easy or guaranteed.
In the meantime, however, Roeder was again grateful to Sven Goran Eriksson for agreeing to let young Ched Evans out again on loan. It was his cool, 48th minute finish from a smart Mark Fotheringham through-ball that kick-started the Canaries into life after Martin Devaney's soft 18th minute opener had left everyone fearing the worst at the interval.
The City skipper added the killer second with a deflected, 25-yard effort before Dion Dublin nipped any late rally in the bud with a simple, far post header from a deep Fotheringham corner.
But given that Evans had only been back in the building for 24 hours, his intervention in yesterday's proceedings was crucial.
“For him now – and he's now turned 19 – this is the division that he should be playing in. He should be playing regular football,” said Roeder, delighted to be furthering the teenager's education at such a key point in his career.
“I always remember Sir Bobby Robson saying for boys to become men, they have to play with men. And he was so right. The boys have to play with the men and live with the men's mentaility in the dressing room. So I like to think – whether it's in a month's time or at the end of the season – that when Ched Evans goes back to Manchester City, he will go back a better player because of the experience of playing with men.”
And in the 38-year-old Dublin, Evans has a perfect mentor – on and off the pitch.
“Football gets a lot of bad publicity,” said Roeder. “And it's a shame that it's a small minority that give it a bad name – and, of course, that makes more news than the good stories, the nice stories of the players that are role models and Dion Dublin is a fantastic role model. And hugely important to me when he's on the pitch.”
Would he be encouraging him to hang up his boots once his latest, year-long City contract expires this summer? “I won't be against him carrying on at all with what he's producing at the moment.
“It's all about having that enthusiasm when you wake up in the morning and you look forward to going training. At the moment, I think he's looking forward to improving his saxophone skills…”
Given other results elsewhere, yesterday's latest away success was very timely. With that home game against Leicester City next on the agenda after Tuesday night's FA Cup third round replay at Bury, the Canaries can start to look to the spring with a mite more confidence than two, short months ago.
Certainly away from home they are a wholly different proposition as Roeder continues to set out his stall with just one out-and-out winger.
“The minimum requirement away from home is a point from every game – and we're gradually getting back to that,” said Roeder, with that last minute reverse at Stoke City as the only blot on Norwich's copy-book over the last 12 games.
Given the level of performance at places like Selhurst Park on New Year's Day, suddenly following the Norfolk side on their travels is not quite the miserable chore of old.
“The travelling support for Norwich City is ridiculously good. When I came here we were five points cut off adrift – and playing in front of full houses. What other club would have that sort of support? So it was nice to send them home happy today,” he added.
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