City boss Paul Lambert was tonight dropping a big hint that he could be about to dip his toe into the autumn transfer market as Norwich’s bumps and bruises began to mount.
A pulled hamstring for right-back Micky Spillane was the one grey cloud to yesterday’s 5-1 romp against Bristol Rovers – that and a sore calf for Man of the Match Grant Holt.
Neither are likely to feature in Tuesday night’s Johnstone Paints Trophy trip to Gillingham as Lambert ponders bolting fresh – and experienced – legs into his League One outfit.
The manager’s thinking is helped by the fact that with October 1 now come and gone, any initial three-month loan spell would take the Canaries straight into the January transfer window when any short-term deal can, formally, be made permanent.
It avoids the fortnight in transfer limbo land that almost threatened to scupper Darren Huckerby’s switch from Manchester City to Norwich in Championship title year.
“Grant’s got a knock on his calf, but he’s got a full week now to rest,” said Lambert, after watching his skipper bag goals No8 and No9 for the season against a ragged Rovers outfit.
“Micky’s got a hamstring – we don’t know how serious that is; we’ll have to wait and see how he is.”
Despite the numbers on the back of the programme, Lambert insisted his options were starting to narrow by the day.
“We don’t have a big squad – I’ve said that and I’m sick of saying it. Even though there’s about 400 names on the back of that programme. But some of those lads are only 12-years-old so I can’t play them.
“So maybe I’ll have to bring in one or two for Tuesday night; get a couple of lads in to try and give us a hand.”
He was, however, not about to go down the Premiership kids line. In his two, short months in Norfolk, he had heard more than enough as to where you got to on that particular path.
Into the Johnstone Paints Trophy without much of a pot to pee in, is the short answer.
“A Premier League loan? Are you going to give me some money for that?” was Lambert’s immediate response to the idea of doing a Jimmy Smith or a Troy Archibald Henville again.
“I think this club had 17 loans come in – and dead money goes out of the window. And the club is where it is.
“So if I can get a couple loans in and I’m going to sign them in January, then we’ll do it.
“But I’m not going to put the club in the trouble that it’s been in before,” added Lambert, with a refreshing sense of responsibility towards his new employers.
“Because of those 17 lads that came in – and I don’t know whether they were any better than the 17 lads that were already here, but I can bet you anything you want, they didn’t give a jot about Norwich.
“So I’m not going down that type of road; give us lads that want to play for the club; lads that have got a desire to play for them – then I’ll take them.”
Lambert was also at pains to praise the supporters for playing their part in putting Rovers to the sword.
“All you can do when a football club is hurt is give it its feel-good factor back,” said Lambert, with this week’s resounding back-to-back home wins fast erasing memories of how this season started. And, indeed, how last season finished.
“The crowd have stuck with it – and they are a massive part of this football club.
“There was 25,000 here near enough again. And it’s extraordinary. I think its more than some Champions League games on Tuesday night which is incredible.
“I’ve said it before, but if you can get this club up and running, then it can be one hell of a place to play your football.”