City boss Bryan Gunn last night revealed he was “very confident” that on-loan Reading striker David Mooney would be allowed to stay in Norfolk until the end of the season.
For while yesterday's crucial 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Plymouth produced another clutch of heroes – Gary Doherty and Jason Shackell principal among them – so it was the young man from Dublin that again stole the headlines with the Mooney shot on 53 minutes.
Or rather deft, near post header that squeezed perfectly inside the keeper's right up-right after Doherty had headed Sammy Clingan's deep corner right back into the mixer.
Either way, the 24-year-old's second goal in as many games was enough to see City clamber three places up the table and out of the drop zone; today and it is Forest fans with most to fear after their recent Billy Davies 'bounce' came spectacularly unstuck with that 5-0 defeat at Burnley.
“I'm boosted by it,” said Gunn, quizzed as to whether the fact that Norwich were now out of the drop zone had given everyone a lift.
Next Saturday's away trip to Birmingham City is hardly a walk in the park, but the Canaries surely have to be feeling slightly better about themselves having taken nine points from the last 12 and kept three clean sheets therein to boot.
Mr Mooney was, inevitably, the name on everyone's lips – two starts, two goals. Irish eyes were all a-smiling again at Carrow Road.
“He is here for a month,” said the City chief, clearly becoming the best of mates with Reading's director of football Nicky Hammond.
“But we've already opened discussions with Reading to keep him on for the remainder of the season – and that's been fairly positive,” said Gunn, following a fairly well-worn path after City's polishing act with first Alex Pearce last season and then Leroy Lita this.
“David is with us now till the Sheffield Wednesday game and then, hopefully, in the week building up to that we'll sign an extension to that.
“The rules and regulations state that – at the moment – we can't do that. But we have got the relevent permission from Reading to do that. And, obviously, we play Reading in that last period of games and I'm sure that there'll be a stipulation in there that he won't be playing in that game – should we secure his signature.”
And how confident was he of all this coming to pass? “Very confident,” he said simply.
Master McDonald's latest introduction to the big stage almost produced a repeat performance of his debut efforts against Cardiff as the one-time Dartford hitman continued to leave his semi-pro days way, way behind him with the kind of instinctive, darting run and dipping finish that – but for a few inches or so – would have brought the house down in the game's final moments.
“No fear – he's got no fear at all,” purred his manager afterwards, his efforts in personally dipping his toe into those non-league waters being richly rewarded.
“And I think that something that's been on the EDP website – some of the goals that he's scored for Dartford this season. And those are the type of things that he'll do.
“He'll get the ball in midfield; he'll run at defenders; he has got a good physique; he has got a bit of pace about him – and the 'No fear!' factor could be crucial for us as well between now and the end of the season.”
The one cloud on the horizon was Darel Russell's latest red card for two, bookable offences. Given that this is not the first time this season that the combative Canary midfielder has seen red a two-game ban could yet follow.
“I was disappointed with the sending off,” admitted the Canary chief, with the door – in theory – now re-opening for the return of ex-skipper Mark Fotheringham whose proposed loan switch to Preston North End fell through last week.
“I spoke to the fourth official about the first booking – Darel [Russell] looked like he got a toe to the ball – it should never have been a booking. And as I walked off the referee said that he had booked him again for 'persistent fouling' – and there were lots of fouls out there in the middle of the park; lots of challenges going in.
“And now we've lost a very influential player – and it could be for one or two games because Darel's been sent off this season already. So we're disappointed with that, but at the same time we have to now re-group and give someone else a chance to come in and perform to the same levels that Darel has done in recent weeks.”
The two obvious candidates are, of course, two players who have yet to wholly benefit from the recent change at the top – Fotheringham and Matty Pattison. Both of whom have all-but been told that they are free to leave on loan if the opportunity arose.
The big, big call would be to thrown FA Youth skipper Korey Smith into that role; that might be a job too far for a teenager with one eye first on an outing at right-back.
“It's possible,” said Gunn, asked about the Pattison or Fotheringham option. “Everyone's available for selection. And that's what I've said all along – that we might need some of these players; that they might be included in the 11 or in the 16. So everyone's in contention.”