It may have missed the attention of many Canary observers, but the squad for tonight’s Norwich City XI vs the reformed King’s Lynn Town made for interesting reading.
Upon first glance, one or two names certainly stood out, with the main one being Jens Berthel Askou. If his exclusion from the touring party to Germany is meant as a snub, then I can’t help but feel it’s a little harsh.
Before his foot injury sustained at Yeovil before Christmas, the Dane was one of the stand-out performers in the whole of the Canary XI, let alone the defence.
But when he recovered, Askou spent the rest of the season in the ressies – apart from a last-day cameo at home to Carlisle. Now I can understand why he couldn’t force his way back in; after all, Messrs Doherty and Nelson were performing well, with Zak Whitbread waiting in the wings.
But for me, he’d be a decent bet even in the Championship – the lad can play. Askou is solid in the air, has a bit of pace and is generally a reliable member of the squad.
Granted – if what you hear on the street is true – Paul Lambert may opt for Zak Whitbread and Elliott Ward as his first choice pairing. But keep Askou sweet at least; keep him keen and hungry.
‘Relegating’ him to a trip down the A47 and the delights of a damp night at The Walks won’t go down too well and for me, he is too good to be rotting away with the second string – a place where the young guns should be given the chance to demonstrate their talents.
Other familiar faces who will be in west Norfolk tonight include Owain Tudur Jones and Matt Gill, but we shouldn’t be too surprised about Lambert’s decision to leave them behind.
The midfield, with the additions of Andrew Crofts, Andrew Surman and David Fox, is now stacked and while some thought Gill was in with a sniff after some decent performances from the bench last season, the writing has been on the wall for OTJ for quite some time.
After being shipped out to Yeovil on loan last year, a permanent move away from Norfolk now seems to be the only real option for both club and player, which is a shame in many ways.
In my limited dealings with him up at Colney, Tudur Jones has always come across as a thoroughly nice bloke and he was always someone that I wanted to succeed at Carrow Road, although maybe that was partly down to my Welsh roots!
But even OTJ would admit that he didn’t impose himself enough during his time on the pitch last season and a move – most probably back down to the south west – would suit all parties.
Whether Askou will suffer the same fate remains to be seen. But, after the wonderful job he did in reigniting the Canaries in 2009/10, not too many supporters will be questioning Lambert’s judgement.