City boss Glenn Roeder could yet be planning a busy day at the office tomorrow as yet another of the Football League's never-ending 'deadline days' comes and goes.
For five o'clock tomorrow is the last time that a Football League club can officially register an 'emergency loan' ahead of the transfer window proper re-opening on January 1.
After tomorrow afternoon, that's it as far as loan signings are concerned for December. Unless, of course, you have a sudden goalkeeping crisis on your hands – at which point you can still make an 'emergency' swoop for a new No1.
That 'emergency' aside, however, and Roeder knows that after tomorrow he has the better part of five weeks to go before he can make another move into the transfer market.
Five weeks in which the rest of City's season could be decided – either they scrabble their way out of the bottom six and set their sights on, say, 12th or else if their recent home form is any guide, then a desperate rearguard action awaits between now and the first week in May.
One point from an available nine at home is the stuff of relegation nightmares. Which is why Roeder may well be found hitting the phones again tomorrow as he looks to pull in one final favour from some Premiership pal.
That's certainly the way he was talking after last night's 2-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace – a game that saw Ryan Bertrand's name added to the list of walking wounded ahead of this weekend's trip to Sheffield Wednesday.
“We'll have a count up and see who will be fit for Saturday – and then we've got a decision to make as to whether we need to bring in at least one player or so,” said Roeder, well aware of the crunch fixtures now looming.
Away at fellow bottom six scrappers Watford is likely to be a right six-pointer; if the faithful's patience is wearing thin, the last thing you do is lose at home to the neighbours in the first derby clash of the season on Sunday week.
“December's a very tough month – for all teams in terms of the number of games,” he said.
The fact that the City boss sensed that two or three of his players “were playing frightened” after Palace's early strike may equally convince Roeder that the time is ripe for a fresh addition.
He has already ruled out promoting anyone from Paul Stephenson's reserve team set-up – the pick of that bunch, Tom Adeyemi, is pencilled in for a potential first team appearance sometime around the back end of April according to the manager's latest youth thinking.
“I just thought a couple of them had a ball and chain round their legs when we went one behind,” were Roeder's exact words.
“We had a good chat at half-time and in the second-half they left the ball and chain in the dressing room.”
His hand will, at least, be strengthened by the return of both Gary Doherty and Darel Russell from suspension, but with Bertrand now unfit and looking increasingly out-of-sorts, Adam Drury will be needed at left-back this weekend – ensuring that Doherty walks straight back into the side.
As well as new skipper Sammy Clingan played at centre-half, you expect that his services will still be needed in midfield; Russell could yet have to settle for a place on the bench given the fact that Matty Pattison now has two in two.
But if centre-midfield is reasonably well resourced, the same cannot be said for either City's strength in depth at either centre-half or centre-forward where Antoine Sibierski continues to struggle – be it form or fitness-wise. Or indeed, simply not being suited to playing the kind of old fashioned target man that the Championship invariably demands.
So it is in those two areas of the pitch that Roeder's interest will focus as he looks to add temporary signing No10 to his pack following the arrival – in no particular order – of Messrs Kennedy, Omosuzi, Bertrand, Grounds, Lita, Sibierski, Archibald-Henville, Koroma and Lupoli this season.
The one other area in which City conspicuously struggle is in terms of height. Minus Dejan Stefanovic who is due to undergo major surgery tomorrow to repair his shattered knee ligaments and with Sibierski yet to really make his six-foot plus frame tell, Norwich aren't exactly over-endowed size-wise.
And whatever anyone says, in this division size matters.
Whether Roeder can find anyone to part with a six-foot plus centre-forward with an eye for goal or a six-foot plus centre-half with both the competitive edge and pace to complement either a Kennedy or a Doherty alongside him is another matter.
They are few and far between – and the City chief is going to have to be at his persuasive best to sell a club seemingly stuck fast in 19th.
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