Croft: Brown adds new dimension
Norwich City winger Lee Croft has revealed his excitement at the signing of Sunderland striker Chris Brown. The pair played together at England youth level and the former Manchester City man believes Brown could give the Canaries an extra dimension up front after a £325,000 deal was struck with the Black Cats.
Norwich City winger Lee Croft has revealed his excitement at the signing of Sunderland striker Chris Brown.
The pair played together at England youth level and the former Manchester City man believes Brown could give the Canaries an extra dimension up front after a £325,000 deal was struck with the Black Cats.
The 22-year-old, who has scored 11 goals in 35 starts for Roy Keane's side, has signed a 2½-year contract with City and could make his debut against Plymouth Argyle at Carrow Road tomorrow (3pm).
Croft said he was looking forward to lining up alongside his old team-mate at Carrow Road.
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“I used to play with Chris when I was younger,” said Croft. “He's a really nice lad so he'll be a good addition to the club.”
Brown would provide much-needed competition for places up front with manager Peter Grant eager to boost his options and ease the goalscoring burden on Robert Earnshaw.
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“He's a different type of striker to what we've got. He's a big lad but it's not just his aerial power and his strength. He has got really good feet as well so he'll bring a different dimension to the squad,” added Croft, who has impressed since recovering from an ankle injury.
While he is pleased to see a striker possibly coming into the club, Croft admitted that he would like to be getting more goals himself.
He said: “We do need to get some more goals from midfield. I've never really been a prolific goalscorer - I seem to create more chances for others rather than for myself but it would be nice if I could get some goals.
“It's important for everyone else to chip in as well as Earnie, but I think as long as we're creating chances it's all good. But we know that we need to help Earnie out when it comes to goalscoring.”
Manager Grant reiterated those thoughts and threw down the gauntlet to his players to try to help out Earnshaw and Dion Dublin in the scoring stakes.
“The midfield has got to score a lot more goals,” said the City boss. “That's the wide players and the central midfield players - they've got to score much more goals.
“You can't depend on one or two guys to get your goals all the time. Even the centre-backs have had chances every game from set plays.
“The wide players have got to get a lot more goals. They've got to be creating goals and they've got to be scoring goals.”
Earnshaw, who needed a scan on his knee before being cleared to face Tamworth in the FA Cup last week, has again been handled with care in training this week.
Said Grant: “It's the injury he got in training when he missed the game (against Sheffield Wednesday) and then he jarred it again against Crystal Palace.
“It was a big problem for us for different reasons because if he hadn't played last week, everybody would have said he wasn't playing because of x, y and z. But he had to go through a fitness test here on Friday before we left and he felt much better. It was great credit to Neal Reynolds and the staff who tried to get him back. We got the scan done, yes it showed something but nothing massive. The wee man was desperate to play. He's played an awful lot of games.
“I'd love at times to be able to take him off. We've been cagey with him this week. I was going to take him off at Tamworth but he was desperate to stay on.”
Plymouth could include new Hungarian signings Peter Halmosi and Krisztian Timar, plus Kevin Gallen, signed from Queen's Park Rangers.
The Hungarians, both 27, are arriving on loan until the end of the season, with a view to permanent moves in the summer.
Halmosi, a Hungarian international left-sided midfielder, and Timar, a centre-back, are both likely to be in the Pilgrims' squad.
Manager Ian Holloway welcomes back strikers Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and acting skipper Barry Hayles, plus defender Mathias Doumbe, but is without suspended full-backs Paul Connolly and Tony Capaldi, while captain Paul Wotton is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.