Norwich City v Sunderland: A tale of two ex-Canaries as James Vaughan and Lewis Grabban return to Carrow Road
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
It's fair to say Carrow Road hasn't been a particularly happy hunting ground for James Vaughan and Lewis Grabban.
The former Canaries return in the colours of Sunderland this weekend, hoping for a vast improvement on their last visits.
Grabban was in the Reading side which was thumped 7-1 by the Canaries at the back end of last season. A miserable return for a player who City fans struggled to take to their hearts during his time here.
Grabban is a player of talent, of that there is no doubt. But he is also one of those players whose is betrayed by his body language: he just didn’t look like he was busting a gut for the right to wear the shirt - and that is how supporters gauge their loyalty to players.
Grabban scored at a rate of one once every two starts during his 19 months at Carrow Road - 13 goals in 26 starts is more than acceptable.
but his was a City career of highs and lows – he scored the winner against Ipswich at Portman Road, one of six goals in his first nine games. Followed by two in the next 22.
Grabban hit a low when he was a no-show for a Capital One Cup tie at Rotherham as he tried to force through a return to Bournemouth. It was a wish that was finally granted in a deal worth £8m – City making a profit of around £4.5m. He remains a Bournemouth player, but this is his second loan spell, after Reading.
Vaughan hasn’t played here since April 2012, when he was in the City side beaten 3-0 by Liverpool. In fact, three of his four home appearances in the 2011-12 campaign were defeats. He made five starts in all – and after the summer of 2012 never played for City again as injury problems reared their ugly head.
Having moved on to Huddersfield, Birmingham and then Bury, it was a surprise to some to see Sunderland sign him in the summer. But 24 goals in 37 appearances for Bury was a good haul and Simon Grayson knows the player from his days at Huddersfield. Vaughan at his best is blessed with a good top speed and a quality finish: shame for him and City that it just didn’t work out.
Vaughan has played against Norwich since his departure: he was in the Huddersfield side which drew 2-2 up there in March 2015 - scoring in the 90th minute and then getting himself sent off after receiving a second yellow card for his celebration.