City fans in need of a ray of transfer sunshine tonight look set to be disappointed with Glenn Roeder this morning few swift or easy answers to their January prayers.
The Canaries have already done one piece of business – 'selling' the injury-plagued Luke Chadwick on to MK Dons for a free transfer.
But with Arturo Lupoli threatening to become the second exit this New Year if he doesn't start playing games soon and Reading opting not to listen to Norwich's offer for Leroy Lita on a half-season loan deal, Roeder could sorely do with a decent piece of business to brighten up his and everyone's day.
“If you have a count up of what I call 'senior' players, there will be boys on the bench tomorrow that are not ready for first team football,” said Roeder this morning, admitting that the Norfolk club were down to the barest of bones right now.
Hence the urgent need for transfer reinforcements. Full-time, part-time, loan or free agent – anyone would be a start. Had he got anyone coming in sooner rather than later?
“Possibly,” said Roeder, his fingers having been all-too badly burned before when it came to promising new players come the morning.
“I'm very much one of those for whom seeing is believing,” he said. “When people tell me you can have this, you can have that… We'll help you here, we'll help you there…
“And, as I say, seeing is believing. Send them down; let's get them signed – and then I'll believe it. There's no point me saying: 'We're fairly close to signing someone for Monday..' – if it doesn't happen, you look fairly stupid.”
With Omar Koroma also now out for three months after ankle surgery and with no sign of Roeder ending Jamie Cureton's loan spell at Barnsley, he did admit Norwich's need was desperate given what awaited after this weekend's FA Cup distractions.
“We need to go into the market as quickly as possible – ie before Sheffield United,” said the Canary boss, already finding his name linked with a clutch of players – ex-Town defender Hermann Hreidarsson and ex-West Ham defender Christian Dailly, now of Rangers. Re-visiting Jonathan Grounds was another.
Quizzed as to whether such experience was his first priority given City's increasingly dire circumstances, Roeder was swiftly pouring the cold water on those hopes.
“They're not there; they're not there,” he said. “And January is not a good window to do business in. It's very difficult to come up with experienced players this time of the year.
“And nobody's got any money. Nobody in the world's got any money at the moment.”
Quizzed as to the names, it was little more than a 'Watch this space…'
“Listen there's that few players around that I'm not going to be saying who I'm going for. Everyone knows we need central defenders – and strikers. And when we adress those two areas of the team, then maybe we can look elsewhere.
“The fact of the matter is that we have only three of our own defenders who are contracted to the club [Otsemobor, Doherty and Drury],” said Roeder. He would immediately correct himself for a fourth, but not the luckless fifth – the forgotten man of Carrow Road, Simon Lappin, still in the final year of his City deal.
“Sorry – there's a fourth, Dejan [Stefanovic]. But you can forget Dejan until next year – which leaves you with Adam [Drury], Doc [Doherty] and Otsemobor. The two youngsters [Bertrand and Omosuzi] are loan players. That's our five.”
The only other trick up Norwch's sleeve is for one of their big three sell-ons to move – Joe Lewis out of Peterborough United and the West Ham pairing of Robert Green and Dean Ashton.
Once again, Roeder wasn't pinning too many hopes on Lewis leaving London Road; Ashton is reported to be out for the season with his latest, lengthy bout of ankle trouble. All of which only leaves Green.
“I get the feeling that the man at Peterborough has got so much money that he doesn't have to sell anybody,” said City chief. Not as much money as the owners of Queen's Park Rangers to whom the England Under-21 keeper has already been linked.
“And I'm sure Joe Lewis is not going to be sold when they're trying to win promotion – so that hasn't even crossed my mind,” added Roeder, his thoughts more fixed on his old club, West Ham United.
“The possibility of earning quite a bitof money from a sell-on comes from what might happen at West Ham over the coming year or two with Greeny and Dean [Ashton].”
It's what happens to Green in the next four weeks that is the key concern; at least Hammers chief executive Scott Duxbury gace the Canaries a little hope tonight – that with the club's Icelandic owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson one of the country's high-profile casualties of the credit crunch everyone at Upton Park has a price on their head.
“We must not be afraid of interest in, or bids for, our leading players,” Duxbury said. “Each approach will be considered in terms of fee, fitness, form and where the manager thinks the player is in his career.”
Keeper-wise the picture tonight has been complicated again by Shay Given's 'Get me outta here…' speech at St James' – news that will have caught the eye of at least two of Green's potential suitors in North London.
All of which leaves just one other potential 'in' – Antoine Sibierski, as and when his initial, three-month loan spell ends on January 18.
The 34-year-old's potential arrival on a longer-term basis will, on current form and fortune, hardly quicken the pulse of many a supporter; it didn't appear to do much for Roeder either.
“We haven't actually spoken with Steve Bruce so we will have to wait and see,” he said simply.
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