Double loan swoop by Canaries
RICK WAGHORN Manager Nigel Worthington was today keeping his fingers crossed that the Canaries will boast at least two fresh faces on the substitutes' bench for their Coca-Cola Championship match at Reading this evening.
Manager Nigel Worthington was today keeping his fingers crossed that the Canaries will boast at least two fresh faces on the substitutes' bench for their Coca-Cola Championship match at Reading this evening.
City have targeted a second Premiership loan swoop in the shape of 22-year-old Fulham prospect Zesh Rehman who - last-minute paperwork permitting - is now pencilled in to sit alongside Charlton striker Jonatan Johansson at the Madejski Stadium tonight (8pm).
“That's what we're hoping - that everything can be squeezed through in time for the two of them to be on the bench tonight,” said Worthington, as City prepared to leave this morning.
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Rehman - an England Under-18, Under-19 and Under-20 international - has been limited to just five first-team appearances for the Cottagers this season as Chris Coleman's side look to cement their place in the top flight.
At 6ft 2in and equally at home at both centre-half and in central midfield, Rehman's versatility and physicality will certainly help stiffen the Canaries' resolve for one last bid for the play-offs after a difficult and all too often turbulent campaign.
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“Zesh can play at centre-half and central midfield - that's where he's played most of his games for Fulham - but he can also play at right-back,” said Worthington, who alongside his assistant Doug Livermore, club chief executive Neil Doncaster and club secretary Kevan Platt have been burning the midnight oil trying to boost Norwich's numbers ahead of the transfer window shutting again tonight.
“We've watched Zesh and he's done very well. He's a young - a very, very good player. Plus at six foot two, he's a big lad and with Johansson six-foot two too, their height will be a big help.”
Both players, provided the Rehman deal goes through, will be on loan until the end of the season
Whether Norwich will able to spring one last surprise is the next question.
Certainly the quest to land either Colchester United's Greg Halford or Cardiff City's Cameron Jerome has gone very cold. Whether Robert Earnshaw's burning desire to quit The Hawthorns can prove enough of a lever for him to return to the Championship may be Norwich's last hope of netting a prize catch as the Dean Ashton transfer money continues to burn a hole in their back pocket.
Worthington has been a big admirer of 30-year-old Finnish international Johansson for some time, and thrashed out a deal with the player last night.
Worthington has been looking to strengthen his front line ever since the £7.25million departure of Dean Ashton and will have been delighted to have found at least one new attacking player on transfer deadline day.
As reported in yesterday's Evening News, he confirmed his interest in the Charlton striker when he declared: “Johansson is a player we have monitored for some time - but the scenario would need to be right for things to happen.”
Johansson is best known in these parts for the two goals he scored for the Addicks against Norwich in last season's 4-0 victory at The Valley.
Since then he has slipped down the pecking order at the London club and has made just three starts this term, only one of which has come in the Premiership.
He hasn't appeared for the first team at all since a 5-2 home drubbing at the hands of Manchester City on December 12 and has been a regular for Charlton's reserve team, scoring in a 3-0 win at Carrow Road just before Christmas.
Johansson made his name at Rangers and Charlton boss Alan Curbishley paid a cool £3.75m for his services when he brought him south during the summer of 2000. His record for Charlton reads 33 goals in 167 games while he has scored nine times in 43 outings for his country.
Birmingham-born Rehman, 22, made his Premiership debut for Fulham against Liverpool at Anfield in April 2004.