City boss Glenn Roeder was this morning hoping that a gentleman's word would, indeed, prove to be someone's bond as his quest to bolt a big, target man into his 2008-2009 squad merely intensified after Saturday's opening day defeat to Coventry City.
It was an all-too familiar tale at the Ricoh as the Canaries dominated proceedings almost from start to finish only for their inability to convert a clutch of clear-cut chances to cost them dear.
But as Roeder prepared to go again tomorrow night and City's Carling Cup first round trip to MK Dons, so there was a steely determination to his transfer thoughts as he looked for someone out there to hold to their promise.
“I can't be any more determined that I have been before Saturday,” said Roeder, speaking at Colney this morning. The City boss has long since made it clear that he has one player firmly in mind to fill the last – and, arguably, the biggest – hole in his armoury.
Prising him out of the hands of his current employers is, however, proving a real test of everyone's resolve. The fact that the player concerned “had a good weekend for the club that he's at” would appear to have rule out two of the traditional targets – Newcastle's Shola Ameobi and Southampton's Grzegorz Rasiak.
Neither featured this weekend. And while Leicester City's Steve Howard did, the City chief has already gone out of his way to rule the 32-year-old out. With a further three years remaining on a big – and expensive – contract at the Walkers Stadium, the impression remains that it is Foxes' owner Milan Mandaric who has been pushing that sale the harder.
Which may yet point to the possibility that Roeder's No1 target is currently plying his trade abroad. Arturo Lupoli's arrival out of Fiorentina has already proved that the Canary boss has more than enough contacts across the Channel to make such foreign forays happen. Provided, of course, that those concerned stick to their word.
“The guy that I want had a good weekend for the club that he's at – so I'm even more convinced that he's the one that we need,” said Roeder, a statement that is likely to have all concerned peering under every foreign stone to see if Norwich's new target man is lurking beneath.
“His club has just got to keep to a promise that they made to the player months ago,” repeated Roeder.
“It's always easy to make promises when you don't intend to keep them. But there comes a time in your life when you make someone a promise, that that person says: 'Keep it!'
“And the quality of a person, for me, is someone who keeps a promise. Because if you don't keep a promise you're a bad person; you shouldn't be making promises if you can't keep them.
“And at this minute, his club is not keeping to a promise that they made to him.”
Whether or not they change their mind ahead of this weekend's home clash with Blackpool remains open to doubt, but Roeder did appear to be confident that the deal would eventually drop before this summer's transfer window slams shut at the end of the month. Some big, hard bargaining no doubt remains to be done before the City chief gets his man.
“I don't know about before this weekend, but I do think they will change their mind. They'll have to – or we might have to go over and see them…”
In the meantime, the Canaries had the small matter of an opening round Carling Cup clash to negotiate.
Having watched Saturday's events at the Ricoh unfold again on the bus home, Roeder is all too well aware that the key to a comfortable success lies with simply taking chances. Score goals, you win matches. It's never really been much more complicated than that.
“We totally controlled the game and it was ridiculous not to have taken a point,” said Roeder, as Wade Elliott's penalty and Leon McKenzie's late stab gave Coventry the points.
He did, however, offer one word of warning for Canary supporters preparing to make the relatively short trip to Buckinghamshire tomorrow night – there will be three of four changes to the side that faced the Sky Blues this weekend.
“It's not a case of resting players – they're injured and they won't be available. Although I think they will all be OK for Saturday,” said Roeder, offering no clues as to who might be missing for the mid-week cup trip.
None of the injuries were, he insisted, of the Blackpool-threatening variety; just bumps, knocks and bruises that could do with a break.
It could yet enable ex-skipper Adam Drury to make his first return to active duty since last season's serious knee injury after he made it as far as the bench on Saturday.
On-loan Spurs youngster Troy Archibald-Henville could also be included among the seven substitutes allowed in the Carling Cup, although Roeder gave the impression that he would like a couple of weeks to bed the teenage centre-half into Colney life before throwing him into the fray.
The forgotten man of this summer's spending spree – ex-Luton winger David Bell – is a week ahead of schedule and will start to twist and turn on his injured ankle this week with a view to joining training for the first time in a fortnight.
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