City boss Bryan Gunn promised that chief executive Neil Doncaster would have his hands full today – and he didn't disappoint as the middle of the afternoon brought three more changes to the City squad.
And there was still a full hour to go before the fun and games stopped. “Watch this space” was the line.
In on an 18-month deal came 22-year-old Dartford striker Cody McDonald – a move that had been well trailed since last weekend when the Ryman League marksman enjoyed a two-day trial up at Colney.
More of a surprise was the swap deal with Fulham as home went Elliott Omosuzi and in came centre-half Adrian Leijer.
Whether that was it in the centre-half department remained very much in the “Wait and see” category with the Canaries being strongly linked this afternoon to a move for Stoke City's Andrew Davies.
“Adrian is someone who Ian Crook has worked with during Adrian's time with the Australian Under-20s,” Gunn told the club's official website this afternoon, as the Norfolk club worked their strong links with Roy Hodgson to good advantage.
That double swoop for the injured Dejan Stefanovic and Omosuzi in the summer set the precedent; come the January transfer window and City were back knocking on Mr Hodgson's door as they swapped their Omosuzi for his Leijer.
The new City chief hadn't just taken Crook's word for it; he had run the rule over Leijer himself. What was potentially telling was the use of the words “extra” and “cover” this afternoon – suggesting that he still held out a hope for a second centre-half to bolt into his plans.
“I have seen him [Leijer] playing for Fulham reserves in the past and together with David Carney he will provide us with extra cover,” said Gunn, now boasting two Aussies and one Kiwi in his new-look outfit.
Omosuzi's return to sender wasn't wholly surprising. The England Under-19 full-back had failed to feature in any of Gunn's three squads to date. The fact that he looked more comfortable at centre-half than he did at right-back didn't wholly help his cause as the City boss moved to shore up that central defence with older heads and bigger bodies.
It left Glenn Roeder's boast that in Omosuzi and his left-back partner Ryan Bertrand City possessed one of “the best full-back pairings in the Championship” looking slightly wide of the mark.
It was still all quite exciting – and a change from the usual under-whelming nature of transfer deadline days past.
The proof, of course, has still to come in the pudding and City's recent past has been littered with examples of players arriving en masse only to, one by one, disappoint.
But at least the Canary boss now has more bodies at his disposal; he now has rather more genuine competition for places across all areas of his side.
McDonald – for all his recent goal-scoring feats at Ryman League level – is likely to remain one to bring on-stream slowly; at 22, time is very much on his side. And while the Witham-based scaffolder has initially only agreed an 18-month deal, the fact that there is an option on a longer-term contract should cover the Canaries should he prove a Kevin Phillips in disguise.
The Darts hitman has certainly enjoyed a meteoric rise of late given that he started this season with Maldon Town.
Gunn – the one and only Football League manager to be at Princes Park on Saturday as McDonald made his farewell appearance in the 1-0 win over Maidstone Town – also revealed that they had ex-first team coach Paul Stephenson to thank for unearthing this particular potential non-league gem.
“We have been watching him for a number of months now on a recommendation from one of Paul Stephenson's friends in the London area,” said Gunn, with 11 Football League clubs sending representatives to Dartford this weekend to see the young man play.
“We kept getting very positive reports back,” said the City chief, as his scouting network kept their notebooks open.
“Obviously Cody was scoring lots of goals, so we knew his goalscoring prowess but I went along to watch the game against Maidstone on Saturday and I saw a different side to him than the other scouts had seen,” reported the club's former player recruitment officer, now of course the main man.
“I saw a brave player who wasn't afraid to go in where it hurts,” added Gunn, taking a line from his own autobiography after McDonald was given one or two painful reminders of his last game in non-league football by some of Maidstone's finest.
“I think he has the raw ingredients to be a top striker,” said the City manager. “I think that was evident with the number of scouts that were at the game last weekend.”
A guest of the Dartford chairman, terms were agreed that night with the club; with the player himself thereafter.
Suffice to say he won't be returning to his part-time scaffolding job in the near future.
While McDonald may prove to be one for the medium and long-term, his arrival – alongside that of Alan Gow and Chris Killen – does place an extra question mark over Arturo Lupoli's future at the club.
He wasn't flavour of the month at the KeepMoat Stadium on Friday night and if further first team chances are now set to become even fewer and farther between, the next hour or so might be the chance for the Canaries to cut their losses and run.
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