Wes still has future, insists Lambert

PUBLISHED: 11:51 18 September 2009 | UPDATED: 16:31 10 September 2010

Michael Bailey

Norwich City boss Paul Lambert has confirmed former captain Gary Doherty is free to find a new club - but denies Wes Hoolahan is destined for the same path.

Norwich City boss Paul Lambert has confirmed former captain Gary Doherty is free to find a new club - but denies Wes Hoolahan is destined for the same path.

With League One leaders Charlton Athletic at Carrow Road tomorrow (3pm), both players have found first team opportunities virtually impossible to come by since Lambert took charge of the Canaries last month.

Their only starts under the Scot's reign came against Sunderland in the Carling Cup, while even a place on the seven-man substitutes' bench has seemed out of reach most weeks.

Recent speculation has seen the duo linked with returns to the Championship and former skipper Doherty, who has been at the Canaries for five years, spoke out this week over his desire to get out of Carrow Road because he does not figure in Lambert's long term plans - something the City boss admitted.

“It will be hard for Gary to get back in,” said Lambert. “I have to change some certain things, which I'll try and do, and hopefully we can get the lads we want in to try and give the current group of lads a hand.

“Gary has been a terrific servant for this football club, he was captain not that long ago. But sometimes you've got to change it and I'm not going to stagnate anyone's career if someone comes in for him.”

The Republic of Ireland pair played the full 90 minutes of reserve team action against Southend last week, and at Peterborough on Wednesday - where Hoolahan ran the show and scored a peach of a goal from 25 yards.

And Lambert believes the 27-year-old, who joined from Blackpool in the summer of 2008, can still feature for City under him.

“Wes has played terrifically well in the last two reserve games and his attitude been great, as has that of the rest of the lads,” said Lambert.

“Wes has been a top player in the Championship not that long ago, but we had to try and get a bit of stability into the side and be hard to beat. But that is not to say he won't figure in the future.”

Lambert is unsure whether the injuries picked up in Monday night's 2-1 defeat at MK Dons will hamper his team selection for the Addicks' visit, with question marks hanging over Adam Drury, Stephen Hughes and Michael Nelson.

“We had a few knocks on Monday but Adam hopefully will be all right for Saturday, Michael we're still looking at and Stephen we're still looking at as well,” said Lambert.

“Initially, Stephen's was a blow to his Achilles but I think he's hurt a nerve in his foot and he can't really feel it at the minute.

“Michael has got a slight little problem in his hip area, but hopefully he's going to be OK.”

Owain Tudur Jones and Matthew Gill remain out of contention through injury, as Phil Parkinson's side come to Carrow Road on the back of their best ever start to a season.

Charlton have six wins from seven after their home draw with Southampton at the weekend, and have conceded only one goal on their league.

Unlike the Canaries - who have already used 23 different players in their starting elevens this season, including three different goalkeepers - Charlton have has the same starters in every game.

They have also seen a club record eight different goal scorers notch in their first five league games this season.

However, the long wait for the return of Leon McKenzie to Carrow Road looks set to continue, after the striker suffered a hamstring injury in training yesterday and is now unlikely to travel with the South London side.

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