Norwich City forward battle set to heat up against West Brom
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
The battle to lead the Norwich City attack is likely to become even more intense when West Brom arrive at Carrow Road this evening.
Canaries manager Alex Neil has a group of strikers with points to prove and is set to give players a chance to impress in the Capital One Cup third round clash.
Lewis Grabban will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Baggies striker Saido Berahino, who tried to force his way out of the club in the transfer window in similar style.
Berahino was not allowed to leave for Tottenham but put that drama behind him on Saturday by scoring the crucial goal in a 1-0 derby win at Aston Villa.
Grabban found himself fined and suspended after similarly trying to force through a move to Premier League rivals Bournemouth but returned as a second-half substitute in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Liverpool.
The 27-year-old – along with fellow striker Dieumerci Mbokani and Kyle Lafferty – will be hoping for a chance to impress tonight and manager Alex Neil insists he is now reintegrated into the City squad.
“You can’t hold grudges in football, once something’s done and dealt with, and you feel you have dealt with it adequately, then as far as I’m concerned and the club is concerned the matter is now finished,” Neil said.
“Lewis is part of the squad like any other player and if he merits a start, then he’ll get a start.
“For Lewis, I think he was probably badly advised as much as anything else. The bottom line is that’s football and there are people out of football who are involved in things, so as far as I’m concerned the matter is done.
“Like I say, it’s already done, whether he scores or doesn’t score, it won’t make a difference to me apart from the fact I’d be pleased that he’d scored.”
Mbokani was an unused substitute at Anfield and the Dynamo Kiev loanee will hope to make his second Canaries appearance – having made a rampaging debut late in the 3-1 home victory over Bournemouth.
Lafferty found himself out of the squad altogether on Sunday, as he looks to replicate his Northern Ireland form with City.
“Kyle hasn’t had a lot of game-time since I’ve been here, Dieumerci Mbokani has not had a lot of game-time since I’ve been here, so with Lewis I knew exactly what I was getting from him,” Neil continued.
“He knew what I require from my number nine, he did it really well for me last season and I think at this stage, I know what I’m getting from Lewis.
“So to have two guys on the bench who I’m not quite sure what I’m getting in terms of first-team football because they’ve not played a great amount for me, I didn’t think was a good idea going to Anfield, so I opted for Lewis.”
For a full preview and team news ahead of tonight’s match, see today’s Eastern Daily Press or Norwich Evening News.