Wilbraham: 'Let me at the leaders'
PUBLISHED: 17:08 31 December 2010
Archant © 2010
New Norwich City striker Aaron Wilbraham is hoping for another chance to make an impact at Championship level - and would love his first outing to be against the current leaders.
The 31-year-old is to join the Canaries from Milton Keynes Dons for an undisclosed fee as manager Paul Lambert tries to bolster his squad in the January transfer window, but will initially be registered on loan so that he is eligible to face table-toppers Queens Park Rangers at Carrow Road tomorrow (3pm).
Wilbraham, who will sign an 18-month contract with City, made his debut for Stockport in the former Nationwide League Division One as far back as March 1998.
His move to Norwich, reported in yesterday’s Evening News, was confirmed by the club on their official website later in the day.
His arrival gives Lambert another attacking option as fifth-placed City prepare to take on Neil Warnock’s side.
In five and a half years with the Dons, Wilbraham scored 57 times in 204 games, helping them to the League Two title in 2007-08 by scoring seven times in the final 11 matches of the season. He has scored three times this season.
“I’m just another addition to an already strong squad and I just want to be a part of a team that is doing really well at the minute,” said Wilbraham. “I hope I can add to that and help give a final push in the second half of the season.
“There are some great strikers here and I’ve obviously played against them in the past. Seeing them in training you could see they were really good players and to be part of that strike force is good for me. QPR will be a massive game for us and I’m looking forward to that and hopefully I’ll be involved in some part of the game.”
The 6ft 2in Wilbraham scored for the Dons in last season’s 1-1 League One draw at Norwich before being sent off for a second yellow card in the last minute of the match.
Lambert told the club website: “I am delighted to bring Aaron to the club. He is a very experienced player and we needed to bring in somebody in his kind of mould.
“I liked the look of him every time I saw him play, and he scored against us last season. He will play alongside our other strikers here and I’m sure he will be able to pass on his experience to them as well.”
Born in Knutsford, Cheshire, the 6ft 2in Wilbraham began his career at Stockport, scoring 36 times in 185 appearances.
He had a short loan spell with Norwegian club Moss FK before joining Hull in the summer of 2004 for £100,000. He scored twice in 20 appearances for the Tigers before a move to MK Dons in 2005.
“I’ve been with MK since 2005, I brought my little girl up there and made some great friends with all the staff and players, so it is a bit of a wrench to leave but when you get the opportunity to come to a club like this in the Cham-pionship, you’ve got to take it,” he said.
“It all came about on Monday. My agent rang me and informed me about the interest and from there it has been a bit of a whirlwind, but I’m just so happy it has been completed.”
Lambert’s resources are fully stretched for the game against Rangers with defender Leon Barnett completing a two-match FA ban and Simon Lappin suspended for one match, plus new casualties Elliott Ward (calf) and loan midfielder Henri Lansbury (hamstring) joining long-term absentees such as Andrew Surman and Stephen Hughes on the side-lines.
Adam Drury could come in for Lappin at left-back for his first outing since the game at Loftus Road 11 weeks ago, while defender Zak Whitbread is another contender for a recall after his brief outing as a substitute in the 4-2 home win over Sheffield United on Tuesday.
Lambert’s success with the Canaries, meanwhile, means his name has been mentioned again in connection with the Burnley managerial vacancy after Brian Laws’ exit from Turf Moor.
Bournemouth’s 33-year-old boss, Eddie Howe, is 1/2 favourite with Victor Chandler and Lambert quoted as second favourite at 5/2.