The calls for the Canaries to sign Leroy Lita on a full-time basis will grow louder again this weekend as the 24-year-old's seventh strike of his Carrow Road loan spell condemned visitors to Charlton to a 1-0 defeat.
With a ?300,000 price tag reportedly slapped on his head this week by Reading, there is every likelihood that the likes of a West Bromwich Albion will step into the chase as soon as next month's transfer window opens. Particularly once they watch the re-run of that tight turn and low, near post drive on the hour-mark.
Tonight and Canary boss Glenn Roeder admitted that in a dream world Santa would pop a Lita in his sack.
“I've got to be careful what I say here because he is a Reading player,” said the City chief, as the Canaries did what was desperately required against their visitors today. Now they have to repeat that feat against Forest in a week's time; and take whatever is going at Palace on Boxing Day.
“And I don't know if we can do anything,” he admitted, with Lita now bagging a goal every other game at this level.
“He's coming out of contract at the end of the year and he's very much in the driving seat.
“So Leroy will decide what Leroy wants to do; his future is in his own hands. But I certainly know he loves it here; he's got huge respect in the dressing room; lots and lots of respect from the supporters. Everything is just perfect at the moment.
“But, as I understand it, he will go back to Reading in January – for that's the one month where they could, potentially, sell him. But if you're looking at the profile of a striker that I would like to sign [in a dream world] then he fits the bill. It would be terrific if we could find a way…”
Overall and Roeder admitted that performance-wise City didn't hit the heights of either the away trips to Watford or Reading, but the result was everything. That was perfect, he said.
“I know 1-0 can be a little bit hairy at times in the last five, ten minutes,” Roeder added. “But when I played the game many years ago, that was always the perfect result.
“Score one at the other end and, as a defender, keep a clean sheet. A perfect day.”
The start was certainly bright enough – just not long enough.
Both Croft and Pattison looked like players with a couple of goals to their name; Lita could have slipped through on a couple of occasions but for something called offside – which the far linesman insisted on applying.
The on-loan Royals striker finally got the hang of it three minutes after the interval when he latched onto a glorious, 45-yard diagonal pass from Jon Otsemobor.
Dropping perfectly into an acre of open space behind Addicks skipper Mark Hudson and keeper Rob Elliot, Lita had all the time in the world to do what he pleased with the game's best chance.
Too much time in many ways as he opted for the carefully-placed lob towards the far upright. Alas his placement was no careful enough as the ball drop two-feet wide of Elliot's right-hand post and one, big opportunity came and went.
Certainly for the 48 preceeding minutes, Norwich had rarely seen Elliot's goal in such close detail. A 25-yard free-kick from Sammy Clingan that whipped a yard wide was the best Norwich could muster.
In fairness, five minutes after Lita's chance he and Wes Hoolahan would enjoy a second after David Bell carved a merry path through the right-hand side of the Charlton defence. His low cross found the Canary pair giving it the full 'No, after you…' routine.
By the time that Lita had touched the ball into Hoolahan's feet and he had then taken a second touch to tee himself up for the drive, Hudson was spreading himself at his feet and deflecting the ball away for a corner.
The Reading man would, however, more than make amends on the hour when he collected a fine, Clingan pass deep in the inside right channel. Back initially to goal, the 24-year-old twisted superbly before drilling goal No7 of his loan spell inside Elliot's left-upright.
Credit too to Canary keeper David Marshall who pulled off a wonderful, first-half save to claw away a dipping effort from Hudson. In a game of very few chances and – for periods – very little action, it is moments like those that decide tight games like this. And on the day, Norwich made their big moments count.
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