City boss Paul Lambert couldn’t hide his delight today as he secured the services of Fraser Forster until the end of the season.
The Newcastle goalkeeper has been in fine form since becoming the Scot’s first signing back at the end of August.
But with Forster’s loan due to end in January, and a recent knee injury to Declan Rudd in training, there has been a degree of panic in Norfolk this week.
But there was good news on both fronts coming out of Colney this morning. The Canary No1 spot looks secure for the time being.
“I think Fraser has been phenomenal for us,” he said today. “He’s got eight clean sheets in 12 games, and a great understanding with the back four.
“I spoke to Chris [Hughton, Newcastle manager] yesterday and he was great. We came up with a solution that suited all parties – he was very helpful.
“You need a presence in that position and some of the saves I’ve seen him make in training, you think ‘how has he got there?’ Declan is only a young one and we have to have someone who has played a considerable amount of games to see it through.
“But Fraser is only 21 as well and goalkeepers can play for a lengthy time in their career. He’s done great.”
The next question was, of course, whether Lambert held any hopes of keeping him for even longer. But sadly, it looks like this will be his one and only season at Carrow Road – we better enjoy it while it lasts.
“We have no chance of keeping him, what with the hopes they have for him,” he said categorically. The future continues to look bright in the goalkeeping department though and there was some positive news regarding England Under-19 international Rudd.
“We thought it might have been longer term with his knee injury. But with a bit of luck he’ll be back in a few weeks time.”
For once, the overall injury bulletin didn’t make for depressing hearing, with no new complaints, and that must give the City chief a boost going into tomorrow’s crucial clash at Southampton.
The Saints – discounting last Sunday’s shock home defeat to Brighton – have been on a decent run of form and have got themselves off the foot of the table after that ten-point deduction. Alan Pardew has certainly got them motoring again and before the Seagulls reverse, they were unbeaten in eight.
And Lambert knows that tomorrow’s match on the south coast will be a tough test for his players. Southampton vs Norwich City certainly doesn’t have a League One ring to it.
“There will be a big crowd and they are a massive football club. Southampton will come out of the traps and try and get at us but we have to counteract that and get on the front foot.
“Anything can happen in this league, anybody can take anybody on. It’ll be a tough game for us. They’ve had the points deduction but they’re still a good side.
“But we’ll be hoping we can exploit the spaces as they will come at us. The onus is on the home team to always make the running. But we certainly won’t sit and wait for them to do something, we’ll be trying to do what we have been doing of late – winning football matches.
“Our confidence is sky high at the minute and they’re playing great. We showed in the last game against Tranmere that sometimes you have to grind it out and we got the game won.”
Apart from ‘handballgate’ at the Stade de France this week, the sacking of Scotland manager George Burley has been football’s hot topic. And Lambert, speaking for the first time since the dismissal, was quick to distance his name from the position this time around.
To be fair, he hasn’t really been mentioned as a front-runner. But when the vacancy was announced, most of the City faithful would have had the thought somewhere in their mind – especially with the former Celtic hero continuing to impress with the Canaries.
“At this minute, no, I wouldn’t be interested. When I’m 94 maybe! It’s not for me. I hear some people say that Paul Lambert would jump at the chance but listen; this is a brilliant football club.
“If you could take Norwich City into the Premiership or if they were in there when you got the job – it’s massive. We get bigger crowds than a lot of teams in there.
“The club has found itself in this league and with hindsight, it shouldn’t really be here but it is. But this is just an absolutely brilliant football club. How long I’m here for remains to be seen but as I’ve said from day one it was a massive opportunity for me. It’s a great football club, it really is.”