Chris Hughton needs to bring in striker to bolster Norwich City ranks
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I didn’t go to Reading on Saturday and relied on our good friends with the mics from BBC Radio Norfolk to keep me in touch with the action as I worked away in my office.
Mr Goreham certainly wasn’t called upon to reproduce any of his trademark super excited commentary moments.
Talking points from the game were few and far between – talking points resulting from it were numerous. Whether you trawled the website chat rooms or listened to Canary Call or chatted over an evening pint, there were many differing opinions.
But one thing the vast majority of City fans seem to agree on is that we need to buy a striker in January.
Eight goals from 11 games is not a great return.
Holty has three and Morison and Jackson have one each.
There are no other strikers at the club who will be able to improve the situation – so surely the cheque book has to come out.
Where fans differ is who should the Canaries go for?
Do we really push the boat out buy a proven frontman who will cost several million pounds and will inevitably be on higher wages than the current lads, so could upset the mood in the squad?
Is it best to look abroad and hope to find a forward equivalent of Alexander Tettey?
What about looking to the big clubs and seeing if they have youngsters or fringe players who can’t get in to the squad? And then there is the option of looking down the pyramid to try to unearth another Holty.
I have no insight into the thinking at Carrow Road – but I have a hunch it could be a mix of continental and lower leagues (with perhaps a surprise in store).
I’ll be very interested to see what you think – and please let me know and I will return to this debate before the new year.
However, just to get the debate going, I’ve put together a few possible contenders for CH’s new year shopping list.
Rickie Lambert (Southampton) – Holty said if he could pick a striker to play alongside then it would be RL. Yes he is at a Premier League club and would he want to move to a fellow potential struggler? And wouldn’t he cost a bomb? Okay he is unlikely – but if we really pick up and the Saints continue to struggle there could be scope for a swoop.
Charlie Austin (Burnley) – The 23-year-old has been scouted by a number of Premier League clubs this season, with interest only expected to grow as he sits ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of Europe’s goal charts. He has netted 20 times already this term and is by far the hottest striker in the Championship. There has been talk of the likes of Arsenal. Newcastle, Liverpool and Everton looking at him – but would he get in their first team? The chance to get regular first team action at Carrow Road could be attractive.
Glenn Murray (Crystal Palace) – He has a very impressive record of 13 goals in 14 games this term and would be a popular arrival at Norwich after bagging a hat-trick against Ipswich a couple of weeks ago. Ian Holloway will clearly be desperate to hang on to his prize asset – especially if the big boys circle around Wilfried Zaha following his rapid rise to the England squad. The prospects of promotion with the Eagles will prove attractive to Murray – but his head could be turned by going straight in to the top flight.
John Guidetti (Manchester City) – The 20-year-old Swede has been on loan to various clubs and had a great spell at Feyenoord last year, where he netted 20 times in 23 games. His squad number of 60 at the Etihad probably indicates where he sits in the pecking order but the fact that he signed a three-year deal less than a month ago indicates Mancini thinks a lot of him. May be the chance of a loan deal?
Jake Cassidy (Tranmere) – He’s the top scorer in League One with 10 strikes. He is on loan from Wolves, who would clearly have the first choice of having him back in January He’s a Welsh under 21 and would be a gamble and probably one for the future.
Robert Beric (NK Maribor) – The Slovenian international has already been linked with City and Paul Lambert is also reported to be interested in the player who seems keen to leave. Beric made the headlines last week when he scored against Spurs in the Europa League and was quick to seize on an error by the keeper to score.
Mohammed Abdellaoue (Hannover) – He’s a Norwegian of Moroccan descent currently playing in Germany. He has a good strike rate (24 in 62 games) and perhaps Mr Tettey could put in a good word.
Darren Bent (Aston Villa) – What a great signing he would be. Yes, I’m winding you up (but it will make one of my regular readers having a massive chuckle!)
And so over to you for your thoughts....you can email or tweet me with your names.
• CANARIES HAVE NOT PERFORMED AS WELL AS LAST SEASON
Another debating point as we have gone in to the second quarter of the campaign is whether City are a better side than last year?
Looking at the bare facts, the Canaries were stronger at this stage last season.
After 11 games, the class of 2012/13 has 11 points, with two wins, five draws and four losses. Eight goals have gone in the right end with 18 in the wrong net.
This time last year as Lambert’s Premier League new arrivals found their feet, there were 13 points on the board from the same number of games. Three had been won, four drawn and there had been four losses. City had scored 16 and let in 18.
The respective oppositions over those games was arguably similar.
I believe the squad is stronger now and the signings made over the summer were generally good.
But can CH match last year’s achievements over 38 games?
As I discussed above, scoring goals is proving tough and having a minus 10 goal difference already indicates that the balance is far from perfect.
However, remember that 14 of those goals came in three games against Fulham, Liverpool and Chelsea.
So just four goals have been conceded in the other eight – and that includes matches against Newcastle, Tottenham and Arsenal.
Four clean sheets is already one better than all last season.
The approach from the management is clearly different this season – and the end of Saturday’s game at Reading really encapsulated that.
Hughton seemed to settle for a point late on and said as much afterwards.
You sense his predecessor would have gone for it and possibly risked a defeat to go for a win. Time will tell which approach will work best over the marathon.
I’m not opposed to being cautious to make sure there is a potentially valuable extra point going on to the tally. But I’d say that of our five draws this season, City should have won four of them.
If just two had been won and three had been lost, we would be one point better off.
Having said all that about draws, I’d definitely take two from our next two games.
• Hero of the week: In this Remembrance week I feel slightly wrong using the word hero outside of the context of those who have laid down their lives for others. But in the spirit of the usage of it for this column, it goes to City ‘keeper John Ruddy – and of course he does have close links to the military. His fourth league clean sheet of the season beats last year’s total already and the shut out ensured another pay day for the Help For Heroes charity.
• Villain of the week: The boo boy gong goes to whoever decided to have international matches on a midweek night with a normal league programme on the weekend before and after. The games serve no purpose but they mean players are taken away at a crucial time of the season and they are at risk of picking up injuries. I bet CH will be sweating heavily until all the lads report safely back to Colney.
• Funniest moment of the week: I’m liking CH more and more as time goes on. While he has many positive attributes, being a comedian is not one of them. However, the boss is my surprising winner of the humour gong. I’m not sure he intended it, but after Saturday’s game he was talking about Michael Turner and said he had a “defender’s face.” The more he said without trying to be funny, the better it was.
• Prediction of the week: I’m not a great fan of repetition but I’m going to say again what I predicted in my column in August. I got plenty of Mickey taking when I said City were going to have a good cup run and there could be another trip to Wembley to mark the 40th anniversary since our first visit there. Having beaten Spurs and drawn Villa at home, I think we have a serious chance.