City boss Glenn Roeder this morning bolted on two more young, Premier League prospects as Reading duo Alex Pearce and James Henry joined Middlesbrough starlet Matthew Bates in Norfolk.
Roeder made it three loan signings in less than 24 hours by securing the services of the teenage stars from the Madejski stadium and they look set to go straight into the squad to face Preston at the weekend.
Pearce, a centre-half, and winger Henry arrive on the back of the Boro defender Bates' arrival and the addition of Pearce now gives the Canaries genuine competition in the backline.
The 19-year-old has made his name at youth level as a dominant defener and he made his Royals debut in an FA Cup win over Burnley last season. This, however, remains his only senior appearance for the Berkshire club.
The Scottish youth international spent much of last season on loan at Northampton, where he clocked up 15 appearances but it is during this campaign at Bournemouth, again on loan, where he has caught the eye of scouts, and obviously Messrs Roeder and Clark. Pearce joins the Canaries on a deal until the end of the season
18-year-old Henry will add competition to the City flanks and is thought to be one of the hottest prospects to come out of Reading's Academy.
With pace to burn, Henry rejected Chelsea's overtures to join Reading's youth system in the summer of 2005.
Like his new Carrow Road pal, he also impressed in a loan spell at Bournemouth this season – where he made 11 appearances, scoring four goals.
And while it is not quite a Cristiano Ronaldo-style goal tally, his goal-scoring prowess from midfield at League One level will have City fans hopeful of a similar return as he makes the step up.
Henry joins on an emergency loan and signs a deal, like Bates, until April 28. Reading have a 24-hour recall option on the player after the first 28-days of the loan have passed.
The Royals youngster made his professional debut on loan at Nottingham Forest in March of last year and like Pearce has made just one appearance for the Royals first-team – as a late substitute in the 4-2 Carling Cup defeat to Liverpool earlier this season.
Meanwhile, the potential arrival of Martin Taylor in Norfolk ? in this transfer window anyway – faded further into the distance this morning after Aston Villa defender Gary Cahill snubbed their cross-city rivals to make a ?5m switch to Bolton.
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish has always made it clear that any deal to bring 'Tiny' Taylor to Norwich depended on his own ability to bolt on another centre-half to his St Andrews plans.
But now that Cahill ? McLeish's No1 target ? has slipped through the net, the former Scotland chief will be loathed to let a centre-half leave ? especially with Raidi Jaidi impressing for Tunisia as they progress in the African Nations Cup.
It leaves the Blues hierarchy little time to bring some defensive cover to the club but with the clock ticking up to the 12pm deadline, they may decide to shut up shop and go with what they've got.
All of which would mean Taylor staying where he is for the time being, and Canary supporters look set to be disappointed once again.
The conclusion of the Cahill deal has certainly left McLeish, Brady and Co reeling and if City boss Glenn Roeder thought he could come in and steal Taylor for a last-minute knockdown price, he will be mistaken. There will be some glum faces around St Andrews today?
“We are absolutely gutted, shell-shocked,” said Blues co-owner David Sullivan.
“Myself, Karren Brady and the manager all negotiated this deal for well over a week. We agreed a fee with Aston Villa, offered him more wages, and we felt that he was going to come here.
“But he told us he wanted a break from Birmingham and that he felt he would always be considered a 'Villa reject'.
“What I do know is that Karren is a very, very good salesperson and she spoke to him yesterday but couldn't convince him to come here.
“The manager said that he wanted to build his team around him and Liam Ridgewell, and what better way to prove Villa were wrong to let them go by making their names here? But it was to no avail.”
To further complicate matters, the Times this morning has Coventry City making a bid to take Taylor across the Midlands and with the Ray Ranson-led consortium now at the helm, finding the ?1m asking price shouldn't be an issue.
City's East Anglian neighbours Ipswich Town are also thought to be keeping tracks on the player who made such a name for himself in his loan spell at Carrow Road.
Having lost out in the race for highly-rated Leicester defender Gareth McAuley, Town boss Jim Magilton is thought to be keen to add another defender to the ranks and a move for Taylor would rub Canary noses in it.
Cash-rich since the Marcus Evans takeover, Ipswich would be able to meet Birmingham's ?1m demands and the Blues managing director could be able to squeeze a bit more out of the Suffolk club if their pursuit of David Norris is anything to go by.
The Plymouth midfield man is set to be unveiled as a Town player this afternoon after the Pilgrims finally gave in and accepted a price thought to be in the region of ?2.4m.
That a player who has never played in the Premiership ? or even for a 'big' second-tier club – can command a fee that high is an indication of how the January transfer window has made football a completely different ball game – as the Canaries are finding out.
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