The forgotten man of Carrow Road may, just, have jolted Glenn Roeder's memory this weekend as the on-loan Simon Lappin added to Gordon Strachan's current woes with the only goal of a dramatic game at Parkhead on Saturday.
The 25-year-old left-sided midfielder found himself cast as one of the 'Plymouth Brethren' after the horror show at Home Park last autumn in which the likes of Julien Brellier, David Strihavka and the hapless Ian Murray all made their final – if not lone – appearance for City boss Glenn Roeder.
For after that all were thrust firmly into the cold at Colney as the newly-installed Canary chief hit the loan market with a vengence and slammed Mo Camara into that troubled left-hand role.
Brellier and Strihavka were paid up and bundled out of the door back into Europe come the January transfer window; Murray, likewise, headed home to Scotland – firing one or two parting shots in Roeder's direction en route.
And while Lappin, too, took the high road home once Motherwell came a-calling for his services on-loan, the door – in theory – remains open for his return. He did, after all, sign a two-and-a-half year deal when he arrived from St Mirren in January, 2007, and has therefore another year to run on his current Canary contract.
Speaking to the Glasgow Evening Times ahead of Saturday's trip to Parkhead, Lappin also made it clear that he still hopes to have a future back in Norfolk.
“I worked hard to win a transfer to England, but things didn't quite happen for me this season and I felt it would be best to come up here on loan and get some first-team football under my belt with Motherwell,” he told the Evening Times.
The fact that his winner against the Bhoys left Mark McGhee's side with their eyes firmly on that third spot in the SPL and with it a coveted ticket to Europe should – if nothing else – boost Lappin's own confidence; there is nothing better than playing in a successful, winning environment. Just as there is nothing worse than playing in a side whose confidence, belief and basic organisation is shot to pieces.
Whether it will all be enough to persuade Roeder to have a second look at Lappin as his own, huge rebuilding work begins over the summer is another matter. Certainly Canary fans will warmly remember Lappin for that stunning free-kick away at Luton Town last season – a goal that eased one or two relegation alarms that campaign.
Few have ever doubted that the one-time Scottish Under-21 international has a very sweet left-foot in his locker; he is certainly not in either the Murray or the Brellier 'class' when it comes to giving up the Canary cause. Lappin appears determined to fight for his Carrow Road future – hence his decision to join McGhee in a bid to showcase his talents.
Scoring the winner away at Celtic – and all while keeping the Bhoys at bay with just ten men following Bob Malcolm's dismissal is one way of ensuring that you are not wholly out of sight and out of mind.
“I knew before I returned to Scotland that Mark McGhee had the team playing well and has an attacking approach to his tactics,” Lappin told the Evening Times.
“So that was an important factor for me and hopefully I can do a good job while I'm up here. If I perform well and help Motherwell be successful then it won't do my chances at Norwich any harm.”
Speaking to the club's official website after grabbing that vital winner, Lappin revealed that he was delighted to be simply starting the game after fearing he would lose his gig at left-back to the returning Stevie Hammell.
McGhee's decision to move Lappin up into his more favoured left-midfield role reaped rich reward and left Bhoys boss Strachan feel the force of Parkhead's displeasure as Rangers steal this season's title glory north of the border.
“I have always said my preferred position is in midfield,” Lappin told the official Motherwell site after making just his third full start against Celtic since his transfer window loan switch.
“Last week Stevie was injured and I was more than happy to step in and play at left-back,” he added. “I was happy to retain my place coming to Parkhead and getting the chance to play in front of a big crowd – and long may it continue.
“It's not about individuals though – it is about a team performance and I thought everyone of us was absolutely excellent today.”
If Lappin's eye-catching strike served as a timely reminder to Roeder of his hopes for a Carrow Road return, Ryan Jarvis' loan spell at Notts County has yet to hit too many heights. His 13 appearances for the League Two side have yielded just one goal – in the 3-1 home defeat by Bradford City.
Jarvis travels to Spotland tonight for a mouth-watering clash with Rochdale. His strike partner is another familiar face – Yarmouth's Danny Crow, like Jarvis currently on-loan at Meadow Lane from Peterborough United.
Elsewhere and the Canaries this morning put a first date in everyone's summer diary as Carling Cup winners Spurs were booked in for a pre-season friendly on Monday, July 28, kick-off 7.45pm.
The game against Robbie Keane and Co follows a long-standing tradition of entertaining at least one Premiership club in the run-up to the start of the new season and Spurs have been regular visitors over the years. A Chris Waddle special still lingers in the memory.
Leave a Reply