City boss Paul Lambert believes that the time is right to give his Canary squad a shot in the arm, with striker Stephen Elliott completing his loan move from Preston today.
The former Sunderland and Wolves man has found starts difficult to come by at Deepdale this season, but after passing a medical and signing on the dotted line, Lambert is delighted to add an experienced forward to the ranks until the end of the season.
The Republic of Ireland international is now in contention for tomorrow’s clash with Yeovil at Carrow Road and the Scot is convinced that now is the time to boost the playing squad, with Norwich sitting top of League One. Competition, competition, competition…
“Whether it’s a defender, midfielder or a striker, when you are doing well is the time to boost,” said Lambert, speaking to the media in his weekly pre-match bulletin.
“That’s my thinking. The time to bring them in is when you’re doing well, not when you’re struggling.
“You’ve got have people to come in and give the other ones a hand, that’s always been my view. If you look at it, Cody [McDonald] is still injured, Luke [Daley] is coming back – we don’t have that much cover.
“Oli [Johnson] has been incredible recently and Chrissy [Martin] is only 21 but if anything happens to them, we don’t have that many to come in.”
Elliott, who has been capped nine times by his country, certainly has the credentials, with two promotions under his belt at Sunderland. And having spent all of his time in the top two divisions, you’d like to think the 26-year-old can do the business in League One.
“Stephen is an international, he’s only 26 and we’ve got a player on our hands. He’s played for Ireland and in the league above us.
“He’s been at Man City, Wolves and Sunderland and he knows the game. I think it’s vital that we bring in someone who can boost the other lads and keep them on their toes.
“Having been promoted before, he knows what it’s about and Stephen knows Wes [Hoolahan] and Doc [Gary Doherty] from Ireland duty as well.
“He’s different from what we’ve got and I’m delighted. He’ll chase lost causes, that’s for sure, and I think he’ll do great for us.
“You’re never quite sure when someone comes in but you’re hoping he’ll do well. Oli has come in and is now a big favourite with the crowd and hopefully Stephen will do the same.”
When quizzed on whether the deal could be made permanent at the end of the season, Lambert was non-committal.
But he hinted that, as ever, finances would play a part and as a third tier club, City just haven’t got the spending power they once enjoyed.
“Give me £15,000 a week! We can’t afford what this club is used to in the Championship. We can’t do it. But we have to work with what we’ve got and get the best out of people who come here.”
In team news, there are no new injury concerns ahead of the Yeovil encounter and there was some positive news regarding Adam Drury, with the left-back returning to training this week after a thigh complaint.
However, the City stalwart, along with Zak Whitbread [calf], McDonald [thigh] and Darel Russell [suspension] will miss this weekend’s clash.
But Lambert feels, with the wounded trio not a million miles away from a comeback, that City are finally getting there on the injury front.
“Adam trained yesterday which was good. Hopefully he’s not too far away, and the same goes for Cody. We’re making good headway with it.
“We’re hoping to get everybody fit and involved in it and that is hopefully what’s happening. We’re making pretty decent progress and Rusty only has one more game of his suspension to serve as well.”
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