Cody McDonald hopes for start

Cody McDonald's goal at Gillingham earned tonight's place in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy area quarter-finals - and now the striker is hoping he will get the chance to add to his tally.

Cody McDonald's goal at Gillingham earned tonight's place in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy area quarter-finals - and now the striker is hoping he will get the chance to add to his tally.

With leading scorer Grant Holt suspended for the game at Swindon (7.30pm) McDonald is keen to get the nod for his first start since Norwich City's League One defeat at Brentford in August - the day Paul Lambert was unveiled as the new manager at Carrow Road.

The 23-year-old has two goals to his name this season, while a string of encouraging substitute appearances and a handful of goals at reserve level have put McDonald in pole position to replace Holt at the County Ground.

“Hopefully, yes; obviously you'd have to ask the manager that one but whether I get the chance to start or if I come on as a sub, I'll just do the same as what I have been doing, and hopefully that is contributing,” said McDonald.

“When I have come on I've been happy with what I've been doing and the manager has been praising me a bit, telling me that I've been doing well when I've been coming on, so that's always good when you're getting the backing from the manager.

“So I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and hopefully that'll be pushing for a starting place.”

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McDonald has been provider on successive Saturdays - with an excellent tackle allowing him to set up Holt for City's third goal at Stockport at the end of last month, before McDonald repeated the trick for Martin's second at Paulton Rovers in the FA Cup at the weekend.

“It doesn't really matter who's scoring the goals as long as were winning,” admitted the striker. “People have said to me maybe I should've shot (against Paulton) but if one of my team-mates is in a better position then I'm going to pass it. I don't think there is nothing wrong with that.

“It's always nice to come on whatever the situation, whether you're winning quite comfortably like we were on Saturday or if it's a bit tighter, but it was nice to come on and get a game.”

Having moved from non-league Dartford to begin his professional career at the start of the year, McDonald has had to be patient - and with Lambert's first choice strike force of Holt, Martin and Wes Hoolahan delivering the goals, McDonald is not about to knock on his manager's door to ask for a start.

He said: “I don't think I'm in the right position to do that really, because Chrissy and Holty have been doing so well. Whether in the near future maybe, then if I have to I will.

“Of course, that's what everyone wants to do. Everyone wants to start. But the competition is good up front and whoever he picks I'm just going to respect that.”

Lambert is happy with McDonald's contribution in recent weeks and would be happy to throw him in from the start tonight, although there would be added pressure on the striker's shoulders.

“Cody in the last few games has come on and done great,” said Lambert. “If he starts then it's a different pressure, starting a game, than when you're coming on - totally different - because the onus is on you to carry it through.

“He's still learning the game as a professional, he's only young and he has started football late, but the last few games he's come on and he's done really well.”

And McDonald admitted he is enjoying the learning process and improving every day.

“Paul and (Ian) Culverhouse have brought new things into the club and I'm learning more each day that we train and every game that we play, so of course I'm still learning and hopefully I can keep learning and start picking up the form a little bit,” he added.