City boss Paul Lambert has moved swiftly to replace injury victim Adam Drury by wrapping up the loan signing of Stockport left-back Michael Rose.
The Hatters defender, who will be in Norfolk until the end of the season, becomes the fifth arrival in January’s transfer window.
And he should be a like-for-like replacement for Canary stalwart Drury, who is expected to be missing for “a few weeks” after injuring his thigh in the 2-1 win at Walsall.
And to cap a busy day in the left-back department at Carrow Road, Rhoys Wiggins looks set to join Bournemouth on an emergency 28-day loan.
But Canary thoughts will now turn to Rose and the 27-year-old has certainly been in good form this season, despite County’s desperate League One campaign, making 28 appearances.
And Lambert will be hoping the former Manchester United trainee can hit the ground running at his new club.
“Hopefully it will be concluded later on,” he said at Colney this morning, speaking before the deal was done and dusted. “We’d be happy to put him straight in because if Simon [Lappin] plays at left-back you can affect the balance of the team.
“Simon, with the way he’s been playing and his energy levels, has been terrific for us. And in my view, Adam has been one of the top performers for us so it’s a blow.”
The timing of the deal suggests that Rose’s arrival was a direct result of Drury’s injury. But Lambert insisted that he was on the radar before that. After all, with Wiggins now Bournemouth-bound, Drury is the only senior left-back at the club.
“If you look at the squad, it’s the one position where we haven’t had much cover,” continued Lambert, likely to throw Rose straight in against Hartlepool at Carrow Road tomorrow.
“Rhoys was here but he’s had a stop-start season due to injury and he needs games. It would be a big ask to throw him straight in.
“The way it’s going at the minute I think we need someone who has played a hell of a lot of games in the league, who knows what it’s about, and Michael is someone who I’ve seen play a number of times.
“He’ll get up the pitch that’s for sure and he had a great upbringing at Manchester United. If you’re going to pick a club you may as well pick them! But he’s done well at Stockport and was a big part of their promotion.
“Rhoys’ paperwork will hopefully go through and it’s an opportunity for him to get some games as well. He’s not out of my plans, it will just be good for him to get out and play.”
With the departure of high earner Jon Otsemobor and some of the fringe players and younger ones now out on loan, Lambert has been able to wheel and deal this month.
And as a result, the squad is looking the strongest it has for a while according to the City chief. When you can bring the likes of Anthony McNamee, Stephen Hughes and Cody McDonald off the bench at this level, you know you’ve got a chance of doing something.
“If you look at the bench before, we had a lot of young kids like Josh Dawkin and George Francomb. But as I’ve said before, these lads need reserve games and they need an upbringing.
“Before, we were throwing them into an environment where this club had to win games. Now, you look at the bench and you think ‘yeah, we’re strong’.
“What we’ve tried to do is bring in lads to help the current group who were here and the group we [Lambert and his staff] have inherited have been brilliant, they’ve been absolutely terrific for me.
“They just needed a bit of confidence and this group the we’ve got here are the ones that have done it for me.”
After his 85th minute winner at the Banks’ Stadium in midweek, McDonald will now be knocking on the door for tomorrow’s clash with Pools, with Grant Holt still to serve two games of his ban.
My hunch is that he’ll go with McDonald and that Oli Johnson may be best utilised in a super sub role for the time being. But Lambert is clearly an admirer of them both.
“Cody has given me something to think about but he’s always been around about it. He has waited patiently but it’s really tough, whether you’re Oli or Cody, to get in from of Grant or Chrissy [Martin].
“It’s different coming on as a substitute as opposed to starting, with the expectancy levels on you the whole time. But the front three have scored god knows how many between them and it’s been a phenomenal return from them.
“You have to be patient and when you get your chance, you’ve got to try and take it and Cody did great the other night when he came on.”