It wasn’t so much the old boys connection as the old Bhoys network that tonight delivered a massive shot in the arm for Norwich’s Premiership promotion prospects as City boss Paul Lambert made a double loan swoop.
Subject to the relevant paperwork being processed as expected, the Canaries will enter the final eight games of the season with two fresh strikers at their disposal – Wolves’ 21-year-old Sam Vokes and Liverpool’s Spanish Under-21 hitman Dani Pacheco.
It is the latter signing that is likely to set the Canary pulses racing this evening as the Norfolk club lay down a marker to their promotion rivals in the nPower Championship – and flash more of Michael Foulger’s £2 million cash injection at their quest to secure back-to-back promotions.
The fact that Lambert could talk to Liverpool legend and new manager Kenny Dalglish as one Celtic old ‘Bhoy’ to another clearly played its part in winning the young Spaniard’s signature for the final weeks of the season.
“I’ve been talking to Kenny Dalglish about him [Pacheco] for a few weeks now,” Lambert told the club’s official website this evening, as news of his audacious double swoop broke.
“He’s technically very good as you’d expect having been with clubs like Liverpool and Barcelona and the fact he’s away with Spain’s Under-21s at the moment speaks volumes for his ability and potential,” added the City chief.
The 20-year-old, Malaga-born forward has made just one Premier League appearance for the Reds this season; he has, however, started in two of their Europa Cup games and at 5ft 5in tall is clearly in the ‘little-quickie’ mould as opposed to the more traditional battering ram of an English centre-forward.
He was, it appears, at his best in January’s 2-1 Reserves win over Sunderland in which he scored one and made the other – all under the watchful eye of the returning Dalglish.
It certainly impressed Reserves boss John McMahon.
“Pacheco is a good kid to work with and he’s always got a smile on his face,” McMahon told Liverpool TV at the time.
“He wants to work hard and do well for this club. He listens and he has an infectious enthusiasm around the place.”
Which, presumably, is just the effect that Lambert is looking for from the young Spaniard when he returns from international duty next week.
Vokes is rather less exotic – having come up the hard way via Bournemouth as opposed to the silver spoon existence Pacheco would have enjoyed at Barcelona.
“Sam Vokes had a terrific time at Bournemouth at the start of his career and he’s a threat and a presence around the box.
“He’s a hard-working player and he’d add to the mix of options we’ve got up front,” said Lambert.
That second striker’s berth has been a thorn in Lambert’s side for most of the season. Injuries have now hit both Chris Martin and Aaron Wilbraham, while Canadian international Simeon Jackson has yet to make that place alongside skipper Grant Holt his own.
Of late, playmaker Wes Hoolahan has been asked to play in that hole off Holt.
But given the Dubliner’s first instinct is to drop deeper and get himself on the ball, the Canaries have long lacked a player who can get beyond the opposition back-line and act as a more traditional foil for the big target man in Holt.
What was equally telling about tonight’s potential double signing was the importance Lambert placed on their respective attitudes. More than once he has insisted that he will not be bringing in anyone just for a jolly.
The Canaries have been guilty of that on far too many occasions in the past.
Hence Lambert’s stress on the attitude both players would be bringing to a possible promotion party – kicking off with the home game against struggling Scunthorpe United on August 2nd.
“The two of them were desperate to come and play and that was very important to me,” said Lambert.
“The two of them are keen to come here and I’m sure if they join us, it’ll give the whole squad a lift.”
As it will to every Canary supporter this evening.
The fact that both players have – subject to the usual paperwork provisos – signed through on an emergency loan basis till the end of May should cover every eventuality.
In an ideal world, they could be heading home by the middle of May – jobs done.