Goals mean prizes – It’s time for Norwich City to give Kyle Lafferty a go
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
So here we are now fast approaching the festive season, fifth from bottom with a current points tally of just 13 points from 15 games.
Unfortunately, It really hasn’t got any better since my last blog, despite us keeping a much tighter shape in recent games (Watford aside) and in the process holding out for some respectable scorelines rather than a thrashing or two against some of the bigger teams (Chelsea included even though they currently sit just two points above us in 14th place).
The last 11 games have produced just two league wins. This, as was previously written in my last column will not be enough to keep us in this league. End of story. Unless we get extremely lucky and there really are three worse teams than ourselves. We quite simply cannot gamble on that being the case, can we?
It is refreshing to see Declan Rudd getting a well-deserved chance at long last and fair play to the loyalty that Alex Neil has displayed to John Ruddy and Russell Martin, but both were very much out of form and fully deserve to be relegated to the bench at this moment in time.
Just as with Gary O’Neil recently, it was fabulous to see him (a model professional) getting his long awaited chance in recent games, it’s just such a shame that he isn’t five years younger the way he has been playing. What a great player, a real leader, an influential voice on and off the pitch.
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It’s good to see that at least the manager is giving some of the squad players a chance this far into the season as he recognises that a change is as good as a rest. The players that normally keep the bench warm are being given a run out to try and prove themselves at this level, some of them are wholly embracing it.
But there is just one man that is still aching for a chance of having a game, just a game, a single game in the Premier League to have a go at demonstrating and proving his credentials on the pitch straight from the kick-off.
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So why is Kyle Lafferty just not being given a chance? He has won titles and cups, scored goals on big occasions for Glasgow Rangers and more recently he has demonstrated that he still has goals in him at international level, helping Northern Ireland to qualify for this summer’s Euro’s in France in the summer of 2016 was no mean feat. Scoring 16 goals at international level in 45 appearances is really not a bad return.
Yes, he has the reputation of being a bit of a big time Charlie, but he hasn’t knowingly committed any terrible acts since arriving? Has he? Maybe that cheeky swagger that he plays with could just be the key to unlocking a defence or two, scoring some much needed goals and winning some more points for the team?
Alex Neil wasn’t afraid to bring Lewis Grabban in from the freezer that was well and truly locked in the Colney shed and it worked against Arsenal. But with just 17 goals in 15 games (1.13 average per game) and with just five goals between the strike force of Cameron Jerome, Lewis Grabban and Dieumerci Mbokani the man also deserves a run in the team. If not how will we ever know of his potential?
If he doesn’t get the opportunity, he will end his Carrow Road career alongside Luciano Becchio and Gary Hooper as untried and untested decent money signings that just failed, due to a lack of opportunity.
Chairman Alan Bowkett’s departure was a bit of a surprise to most of us this week, but he should be congratulated for steadying, steering and stabilising the club in recent years.
The imminent and reported board changes will be interesting to see. Let’s hope that there is just a little bit more of an opportunity to spend some money in the right areas come the opening of the January transfer window.
Every club is looking for a new Jamie Vardy and maybe, just maybe we already have one on our books? At the age of 28 (the same as Vardy) we have a bit of a young journeyman footballer that is most weekends keeping a seat warm on the bench.
What have you got to lose Alex? Come on give the lad a chance. Please.
• You can follow Steve Plunkett on Twitter at @plunkykos