Few would dare to suggest that Leroy Lita is Darren Huckerby is disguise.
But at some point in that heady autumn of 2003, the Canary legend became the difference.
That he – and Peter Crouch – injected the kind of belief, the kind of momentum and the kind of quality, in short, that set the Canaries off on altogether different path.
This evening and after bagging his fourth goal of the week to give Norwich a basically undeserved three points against a plucky Doncaster Rovers outfit and you could not help but wonder whether or not Leroy Lita wasn't wandering off down the same road as the all-time Barclay hero.
Here was the belief, here was the momentum and here was the quality that changes the course of seasons.
A fabulous hat-trick against the league leaders in mid-week; an injury-time winner on the Saturday – put together and the on-loan Reading striker is driving the Norfolk side ever nearer the 'heights' of Championship mid-table; the pressure on local businessman Carl Moore to reach for his cheque book again and fund a second month's loan spell growing by the day.
Just as the Carrow Road board – and, indeed, the ever-generous Mr Moore – found themselves having to do five long years ago; busting every last financial gut to keep the man that made the difference then in Norfolk.
“We're hopeful,” was Roeder's response to the inevitable question this evening – whether or not the 23-year-old would be allowed out to play for a second month.
There had, he revealed, been a conversation. With Royals director of football Nicky Hammond, in every likelihood. The fact that the 28-day mark will come and go allowing Reading to enjoy an instant recall on their striker will help Norwich's cause.
“If Reading keep doing well and we keep playing Leroy – which obviously we will – and we keep him match-fit; and we're now into a period when Reading can call him back in one day – then I think it suits both parties that come next weekend we can continue to keep him here.”
Just one more month could make the world of difference; given Lita's likely price tag, pulling off a Huckerby-style permanent deal in time to be 'unwrapped' on Boxing Day is a wholly different matter. For now, the player appears willing.
“I've had a word with Leroy and he's certainly wants to stay; the players would like him to stay; he's integrated into the squad really, really well,” added Roeder, as his day at office ended wreathed in smiles. It might have been an altogether different story had the day ended rather nearer 4.30pm.
Because right up to the 83rd minute when Antoine Sibierski curved a curious header in off the post from some 18-yards distant, the game was following an utterly predictable course – that after hitting such highs against Wolves in mid-week, City were busily plumbing new lows come Doncaster on the Saturday.
For yet another distinctly dubious penalty award in the 77th minute had put Rovers, briefly, in the driving seat.
Where they pretty much deserved to be. For after the break it was they, not Norwich, carving out the clearer chances long before Dejan Stefanovic tangled with Jason Price in front of the far linesman and ended up conceding City's seventh penalty of the season. One every other game.
Earlier and the Wolves pot could have well and truly kept on bubbling had skipper Darel Russell managed to get a firmer connection on a Lee Croft pull-back after just three minutes of this afternoon's contest.
In fact, any sort of contact whatsoever would have been a bonus after the Canary winger made the very most of a lucky deflection to drive deep into the Rovers box and feed the arriving Russell. Head might have been down, but eye was off the ball as it bounced up and over the skipper's foot. Big, early chance gone AWOL, though – at that stage – City looked bright and lively enough as Sammy Clingan dropped a free-kick onto the roof of the net and Wes Hoolahan looked generally sharp and inventive.
It just needed someone to deliver and finish to get the mid-week party going.
But right up to the interval, no-one did. Decent amount of huff and puff; bits and bobs that impressed. But Rovers keeper Neil Sullivan had barely had a shot to save.
All of which merely deepened the faithful's fears that the Canaries were busily reverting to type once more; that Rovers at home was the 'default' setting; Wolves at home was just this complete one-off.
The usual weather-vane is Roeder's own appearance on the touchline. He was there, a-prowling, after just 20 minutes of this afternoon's contest. Where he stood for the rest of the game – and watched and waited for any sniff of a chance.
For the regulars their worst fears were almost realised in the 56th minute when Price forced David Marshall into a decent save low to his right; the Canary keeper had to react quickly after Brian Stock almost got on the end of Gareth Roberts' near-post cross. In short, by the hour-mark it was, indeed, business as usual. Even more so when Stock calmly tucked away that 77th minute penalty.
By the hour and a half mark, however, and it was clear that the rules of the game had changed. For the second time in a week, Lita had made all the difference.
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