New City hero Leroy Lita last night night left the door to a second month's loan spell banging wide open as he celebrated yesterday's last-gasp winner against Doncaster Rovers.
Fresh from bagging that hat-trick against league leaders Wolves in mid-week, the 23-year-old on-loan Reading star cemented his place ever-deeper in the Barclay's affections with a 93rd minute strike that not only gave the Canaries their second home win of the week, but gave Lita his fourth goal in as many days.
It also turned the afternoon's contest completely on its head after Rovers appeared to be heading home with a reasonably deserved win following a 77th minute penalty strike, only for first Antoine Sibierski and then Lita to wrest three big points from the jaws of seemingly a certain defeat.
Afterwards and the reporters' line of questioning was inevitable – would he be happy for a second tour of duty in Norfolk once his initial loan spell comes to an end at five o'clock next Saturday?
Yes, appeared to be the short answer.
“I've made that clear – I've spoken to the gaffer but like I say I'll just concentrate on the next game now,” said Lita, with City'shopes of extending his loan spell boosted by Iain Dowie's exit out of Loftus Road. The Rangers chief – or rather ex-Rangers chief – was one of those widely-reported to be interested in bagging Lita's signature the moment his Canary loan spell expired.
Ditto, Tony Mowbray at West Bromwich Albion. But given that possession can be nine-tenths of the loan law, the fact that Lita is here, in Norfolk, in the goals and in good company would all appear to be working to Norwich's advantage as City boss Glenn Roeder continues to whisper sweetly into the ear of Reading's director of football, Nicky Hammond.
“If both clubs agree for me to stay then I'm happy to stay and play,” added Lita, well aware that with Reading not short on goals right now, his chances of walking back into Steve Coppell's immediate thinking were slim.
Likewise if you were the Royals boss, you would be more than happy to watch Lita smash big holes in your rivals' promotion credentials. As he did in such spectacular fashion against Wolves.
“Reading are flying so I don't think the gaffer's going to change much there – and I wouldn't want to go back and not be playing again,” he said.
“I'm in a little flow now, so I'd hope to keep that going.”
When it happened wasn't his concern; but the door was open.
“As I say, I'm happy to stay and play,” he said. “The gaffer's been great for me. He's brought me here; he's told me that he wants to play to my strengths and make things easy for me and I'm really enjoying it.
“And for as long as I'm here, I'll keep trying to do my best for the team and score as many goals as I can.”
Doncaster Rovers certainly didn't make Norwich's life any easier yesterday as they limited the home side to pretty much one effort on goal before the break and not too many more after it – or at least not until that controversial penalty award fired one or two into life.
It was the beast of Saturday compared to the beauty of Tuesday.
“In this league sometimes you've got to win like that,” said Lita afterwards, as the Canaries almost began to see a place in the Championship mid-table looming on the horizon.
“We didn't play the best, but we stuck at it and managed to get the win which was important,” added the former England Under-21 striker, who from the nature of his last minute goal celebrations is rather enjoying himself in Norfolk.
He certainly appeared to know exactly what that neat, tucked finish meant in terms of dressing room morale and attitude.
“It proves that we've got the character – and the ability to do well but we need to be more consistent,” he said.
“And I knew that it'd be a game like that today – that they'd make it difficult for you. And we saw that at the start – if we'd have got an early goal then it might have been a better game for us. But they made it and hard for us – and credit to them.
“Today wasn't a great performance, but it's three points and everyone is happy again – the crowd got frustrated, we got frustrated and let it get to us a bit. But we stuck together and managed to grind it out.”
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