More to come – Grant

PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 July 2007 | UPDATED: 10:24 14 September 2010

Norwich chief Peter Grant insisted he is still hunting a fresh central midfield recruit after snaring Chelsea's highly rated youngster Jimmy Smith on loan.

By PADDY DAVITT

Norwich chief Peter Grant insisted he is still hunting a fresh central midfield recruit after snaring Chelsea's highly rated youngster Jimmy Smith on loan.

Grant headed off strong interest from Championship trio Watford, Crystal Palace and QPR, where Smith enjoyed a successful Loftus Road spell last season.

The 20-year-old England youth international agreed a six month Carrow Road switch until December 31 and goes straight into the Canaries' squad for their two-match mini Dutch tour.

City have been linked with former Liverpool trainee David Thompson following the free agent's summer release from Bolton.

Grant confirmed he wants to further bolster his midfield options after Dickson Etuhu's £1.5m Sunderland switch and on going uncertainty surrounding Youssef Safri's touted West Brom move.

“We're looking to bring in one or two more - possibly a central midfielder,” he said. “We were looking at Jimmy even prior to Dickson leaving. You saw Mark Fotheringham's performance the other night (against King's Lynn), we've got Brellier and Safri, but I want that competitive edge. Not just on a Saturday or a Tuesday in games, but training as well. We've got that with the strikers and I want the same in other areas of the team.”

Grant moved quickly to grab Smith with QPR reportedly keen to entice the Stamford Bridge youth product back across West London.

Smith scored six times in 31 games last season to help guide John Gregory's team to safety - including a goal in City's 3-3 Loftus Road draw that marked Grant's Carrow Road arrival.

“He was well down the road of going to someone else,” confirmed Grant. “We had to move quickly and take that opportunity. I've watched him for a few years now, both when I was at West Ham and in that first game for QPR.

“He has great ambition and a hunger which I like to see in young players. Jimmy is a Norwich type of player who goes about his business with enthusiasm. It's up to us to get the best out of him but there's no doubt about his talent. He's a very technical player who can move the ball with either foot. Being around good players at Chelsea has to rub off.

“If you look at the stats, he gives us something different to what we already have in the group. He likes to get in the opposition box and to score six or seven goals coming into the Championship last year was brilliant for a young lad - although he will feel he should have got more.”

Grant is challenging the Newham-born playmaker to nail down a regular starting spot.

“He proved at QPR he isn't a bit part player,” he said. “Considering where they were in the league when he went there you only have to see how results and performances changed. Now he's in the door I've no qualms about him competing with the other lads already here.

“Jimmy has played in a three-man midfield with Chelsea and he's also comfortable in a two. That was also a big attraction for me, because you have to change systems sometimes.”

City's chief has not ruled out extending Smith's stay beyond the New Year.

“To get someone of his quality sometimes you have to sacrifice a little,” said Grant. “Chelsea have the African Nations this season which is obviously a big problem for them. It tells you how highly regarded Jimmy is that they see him as a big part of the first team group. I understand that but hopefully their players in that tournament get knocked out and come home early.”

Grant revealed forging ever closer links with the Premiership giants helped paved the way for Smith's arrival.

The Scot's number two and ex-Chelsea coach Jim Duffy ran the rule over Smith in a friendly at MK Dons on Wednesday.

“Jim went up to see him last evening,” said Grant. “We spoke to him about our plans - how we want to get out of this league. Jimmy wants to play at the highest level but he is up for the challenge. It can be another part of his learning curve playing in front of 25,000 people every other week.

“Obviously we have a few connections with Chelsea and we're delighted they see us as a good option for the player because sometimes in these situations it's the club who dictates to the player. I think it might also be down to how we performed last year when we went their in the cup.”

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