Hartson released by City

DAVID CUFFLEY Striker John Hartson is being released by new Norwich City boss Glenn Roeder - and will not figure in Saturday's Coca-Cola Championship trip to Plymouth.

DAVID CUFFLEY

City boss Glenn Roeder is stepping up his search for fresh loan signings - after dispensing with the services of John Hartson.

Roeder confirmed yesterday that Hartson, who made four appearances during his loan spell from West Bromwich Albion and would still have been eligible for tomorrow's Coca-Cola Championship trip to Plymouth, was returning to his club and would not figure in the game at Home Park.

The 32-year-old former Wales international was recruited on a month's loan by caretaker boss Jim Duffy, with the option of extending the deal to the end of the year.


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With a fortnight's break coming up, the Plymouth game would have been the last in his initial month with City.

But Roeder said: “We'll let John go. I won't include him on Saturday either, which I could do.”

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Hartson's second-half appearance against Ipswich last Sunday helped inspire City's fightback from 2-0 down to get a draw, but after starting Tuesday's game against Watford, he was replaced early in the second half.

Roeder would not expand on his reasons for letting Hartson go, but revealed he had been on the verge of clinching a proven Premier League striker on loan on Wednesday.

He said: “I know close is no good, but I came very close to getting a striker that would, I think, have made people sit up and take notice of hopefully me being able to bring some players into the club where the fans recognise and say, 'Well, we wouldn't normally have thought we'd get a player like that'.

“I still think we might be able to get this player, but not just yet. It might be in three or four weeks' time, but we need one now.”

Roeder said the striker was “very much” a Premier League player.

“Very much so, absolutely. He's got a record of a goal every three games in the Premiership and he is still young.”

A permanent move was unlikely, however.

“I don't think so, he is too good, he is a real Premier League player,” he said. “The manager doesn't fancy him, but because he has got a couple of injuries in that position he feels he just has to get those players fit again.”

There were other options, however, said Roeder.

“There are one or two players just recently, if you look, that have been in Championship teams, have done very well and then they get to the Premiership, they come back to the Championship and do very well again,” he said. “There is one shining example of that at the moment that we are trying to do something about, although I am not sure the manager - who would like to help - will be able to because he has got one or two injuries at his club at the moment.

“We have got a list now that we are working through and it is a combination between the managers saying 'Yes you can have them on loan', and what I said after the game the other night - those players being motivated enough to want to play football when they are out of their current first team and knowing the fact that their managers are prepared to loan them out.”

Winger Luke Chadwick is rated 50-50 for the Plymouth game after a hamstring injury forced him off during the second half against Watford, while Dion Dublin is unlikely to be fit because of the same problem, but may still travel.

Darren Huckerby is suspended for two more games after his red card against Ipswich, and with Gary Doherty, Mark Fotheringham and Adam Drury all long-term absentees, the squad is stretched.

Said Roeder: “I spoke to Luke this morning. We didn't think it was too bad, a bit like Dion. If we had persevered he would have completely gone. He's going to be 50-50 for Saturday and he'll be at work with the physio this morning and we'll know whether we can use him on Saturday.

“I won't take a chance with injuries if there's a doubt.

“It's painful with Hucks being out for a couple more games and Dion unlikely to figure. The squad is small anyway.”

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