City boss Paul Lambert admitted that the absence of goal machine Grant Holt will be a big blow ahead of the trip to Walsall tomorrow night.
But with super sub Oli Johnson waiting in the wings, all concerned will be hoping that he can fill the skipper’s significant boots, after the 23-goal striker saw red against Brentford on Saturday.
Holt will not make a return to the first team until February 13 and that trip to Brighton, so the 22-year-old – if, as assumed, he’s given the gig – now has the perfect chance to show he can do it for the 90 minutes.
“It’s a blow. You don’t take 23 goals out of your team and think it’s not a blow. But that’s the nature of the game, you’ve got to accept it. Whoever will come in will do great for us.
“I don’t have a problem with it because it’s up to us to get lads in the team who can replace the ones that go out.
“Grant has been absolutely terrific for us, really good. But we’re going to lose him for three games and, as I’ve said, whoever comes in will do fine.”
It’s fair to say that the impact Johnson has made has come as a shock – let’s be honest, he wasn’t exactly pulling up many trees at Stockport, with only one goal to his name before the big move.
But Lambert took a punt and so far it has paid off. That said, the Scot doesn’t want too much pressure placed on the Yorkshireman’s shoulders.
“Considering he hasn’t played professional football for that long, coming out of non league, the impact he’s made has been big.
“But I don’t want people to think that he’s going to be doing that every single week. He’s a young lad who is still learning but he has played a major part in the last three games when he has come on.
“There are loads of factors when you look at a young player. If they’ve got the hunger and the desire that’s important and his ability has always been there.
“You don’t know what is going on behind the scenes at other clubs, whether he’s not enjoying it or whether he’s had a falling out with the manager.
“When you sign anyone you are taking a gamble but I think he’s got something there that might hopefully progress his career.”
City’s last two outings have earned them six points in front of two big atmospheres. At Colchester, there was the obvious bad feeling that stoked up the supporters and against the Bees, City’s 10 men were roared on by the noisiest Carrow Road crowd I have personally witnessed for quite some time.
Playing in front of 5,000 or so at the Bescot Stadium tomorrow night could be a different challenge yet again. But with the Canaries’ sizeable following, Lambert insists the atmosphere will always be red hot when City are in League One action.
“Wherever we play this club has a big following that comes to watch us,” continued the Canary manager.
“The demand is to try and win another game, which is the same as it was for the last two games. From a game point of view it will be no different.
“And it’ll be a tough one, there’s no two ways about it. Chris [Hutchings] has got a good side up there and it’s a really hard game for us.
“We’re going to have to play the pitch as well as I don’t think that will be too great. It’s going to be tough.”
Lambert’s pre-match injury bulletin did include one piece of bad news, with Russell Martin a slight doubt for the trip to the West Midlands.
But despite picking up a knock in the first-half of the Bees clash, the Scot is hopeful that it’s just the one change he’ll have to make.
“Russell Martin is the only one that we’re going to have to have a little check on. Hopefully he’s going to be OK; he got a knock on his hip on Saturday but we’re hoping he’ll be fine.”