Kei Kamara tipped to be big hit at Norwich City
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Kei Kamara can have a major impact on Norwich City’s Premier League season – but Chris Hughton insisted he was right to keep the Sporting Kansas loanee in reserve until the closing stages of their goalless Premier League draw against Fulham.
Kamara was thrust into the fray following Grant Holt’s back injury after only two training sessions with his new team-mates following his midweek arrival from America. The 28-year-old injected some much-needed dynamism in a late cameo at Carrow Road that bodes well for the remainder of the campaign.
“We took a bit of a chance with him,” said Hughton. “That being the case we knew we could not play him for so long because the worst thing would have been if we had played him earlier, he pulls a hamstring or picks up an injury and he is out for the next three or four weeks.
“Kei coming in was very unexpected. We probably have gone against the grain with him. The big problem with Kei, and it probably goes against what we normally do and we should do, is he arrived on Wednesday, did his first training session with us Thursday and although he has been training he is well off with the pace of matches because he has had this break with the MLS season. I liked what I saw.
“It is as much about getting him up to speed now and he’ll certainly give us another dimension.”
Kamara owed his swift elevation to the senior ranks to Holt’s back spasm suffered on the morning of the Cottagers’ visit.
“He literally just got up and felt it. It was a fair blow to us,” said Hughton. “Of course these things happen in football and you have to be prepared and you have to be adaptable enough. That is why we have competition and that is why the players train like we do. There have been circumstances before when physios are able to release the spasm so we couldn’t rule him out when we knew in the morning.
“But in the end it was quite obvious he wasn’t going to be any good for us. It is a spasm so it is going to be very short-term for us.”
Holt’s absence left the stage clear for another January transfer window acquisition, Luciano Becchio, to lead the line on his home Norwich debut. The Argentine spurned City’s best close range chance of an insipid deadlock which Hughton admitted was key to the overall outcome.
“If that goes in it settles him down a little bit. I thought he worked hard. I couldn’t fault his endeavour,” said Hughton. “Things perhaps didn’t bounce for him as he would like but he is a player who generally thrives on a good quality into the box and we probably lacked that.
“I think it was a lack of supply. Kei Kamara came on for that last period and you can see what type of player he is – a rangy, mobile player. Becchio is one who is strong, good in the air, but he relies on a service. If he gets that in and around the box he can score goals.
“I was disappointed because we are at home and the onus is on us to look to get the three points. I didn’t think we had enough in the final third. I felt we lacked a bit of quality in the final third but it is another point. If you can’t win these games, then make sure you don’t lose them.”
Hughton conceded Fulham had most of the answers for his side’s sporadic attacking forays.
“The lad (Brede) Hangeland at the back is a giant of a centre half and he is a real quality centre half,” said Hughton. “Good in the air and perhaps he is not the quickest, but generally he doesn’t get exploited.
“He is very, very good on the ball and for centre halves to be able to dink balls into team-mates 40 or 50 yards away is great and shows good quality. Not only are they strong at the back, they have got a lot of offensive options.”