Grant hopeful for central defender

CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant remains hopeful he can bolster his back line by signing a central defender - and if he decides to make it a permanent transfer he will end a remarkable seven-year run.

CHRIS LAKEY

Peter Grant remains hopeful he can bolster his back line by signing a central defender - and if he decides to make it a permanent transfer he will end a remarkable seven-year run.

The last time Norwich City paid money for a specialised central defender was back in September, 2000, when Bryan Hamilton, the man who brought us such luminaries as Raymond De Waard and Fernando Derveld, signed Steve Walsh from Leicester City.

Walsh's four-and-a-half-month stay at Carrow Road was hardly a resounding success, with just two starts - one in the league, one in the League Cup - before Nigel Worthington took over and shipped him out, to non-league Tamworth.


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Go back a couple of years and you will find the most recent money signing to have been a success in the middle of the Canaries back four - Malky Mackay.

The towering Scot joined City from Celtic for £350,000 in September, 1998 - signed by Bruce Rioch - and played more than 200 games for City before departing for West Ham at the start of City's Premiership season in 2004.

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Gary Doherty moved to Carrow Road in August, 2004, but although he had become something of a two-role specialist, he was signed by Worthington primarily as a centre forward. Worthington entrusted defensive duties to Craig Fleming and Simon Charlton, with Shackell then on the fringes, but within a within a matter of weeks and with Mackay moving on, Doherty was shifted back, and has rarely played anywhere else since.

There is a similar argument for Dion Dublin but, again, the veteran was signed as a striker and only moved back to cover for injuries - although such was his prowess that it was hard to decide which was his best position.

While Walsh remains the last of the permanent central defenders, there have been others who have filled the role on a temporary basis.

Leigh Bromby came on loan from Sheffield Wednesday in the second half of the 2002-03 campaign, and while talks were held later to make his move permanent, a deal could not be reached - and in the summer of 2004 he was released by Wednesday and snapped up by city rivals United.

Davenport, then at Spurs, spent three months at Carrow Road at the end of 2005, and on his departure Worthington went back to London to bring Zesh Rehman in from Fulham in January, 2006. The difference between the pair was marked: Davenport played 16 times in his three months and scored once - the equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Coventry - while Rehman managed just five starts in three months stay before returning early to Craven Cottage. And that's your lot - always assuming you don't count Dublin or even summer signing Jon Otsemobor, a right back who can cover in the centre.

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