Cruel injury blow thwarts former City striker's renaissance

Tranmere Rovers' James Vaughan (centre left) battles for the ball with Leyton Orient's Adam Thompson

Former Norwich striker James Vaughan, left, in League Two action for Tranmere at Leyton Orient last month - Credit: PA

Injuries ruined James Vaughan's time at Norwich City and now the striker's renaissance looks to have been thwarted by a cruelly-timed injury - which is set to deny him a Wembley appearance.

The 32-year-old former Canaries forward has played for eight clubs since leaving Norfolk in 2012 but had scored 21 goals in 33 matches for League Two club Tranmere Rovers this season.

He needed treatment on a knee injury during the latter stages of a 3-1 win at Leyton Orient at the end of last month and has missed the promotion hopefuls' last two matches.

He was announced as one of the nominees for the League Two Player of the Month award on the same day that he will have an operation, ruling him out of the Papa John's Trophy final at Wembley against his former club Sunderland on Sunday.

Tranmere boss Keith Hill told the Wirral Glode: "James Vaughan, I now know needs surgery. We don't know how long he will be out until after the surgery.

"But he'll be having surgery on Tuesday afternoon. We'll know more probably Wednesday or Thursday once the surgeon gives us the information that we need."

Vaughan still holds the record of being the youngest ever Premier League goal-scorer, having scored for Everton in 2006 at 16 years and 270 days old.

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He scored nine goals in 61 games in total for the Toffees and after scoring nine Championship goals while on loan at Crystal Palace in 2010-11, he joined the Canaries in the top flight after promotion under Paul Lambert, reportedly joining for around £2.5million.

However, injury disrupted his pre-season and after three appearances as a substitute Vaughan suffered a knee injury during a 2-1 home win over Sunderland and was he ruled out for four months.

He only managed a further three appearances and with Chris Hughton replacing Paul Lambert as manager, Tottenham youngster Harry Kane was brought in as competition for Grant Holt, Steve Morison and Simeon Jackson.

Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd. 07904 64026728/04/12James Vaughan of Norwich rues

James Vaughan rues a missed chance during Norwich City's 3-0 defeat to Liverpool at Carrow Road in April 2012 - Credit: Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Kane's spell was ruined by injury and the future England captain was replaced by Kei Kamara on loan in the January of 2012-13, with Luciano Becchio also signed in an exchange deal for Morison.

Vaughan scored 14 goals in 33 Championship games for Huddersfield during that season and with Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Gary Hooper and Johan Elmander arriving at Norwich, he was sold to the Terriers for around £1million in the summer of 2013 despite the departures of Holt, Jackson and Chris Martin.

Time with Birmingham, Bury, Sunderland, Wigan, Portsmouth and Bradford followed before joining Tranmere on loan midway through last season and then signing on a free transfer following relegation to League Two.

His time with Norwich may not have worked out but City fans were grateful to a rush of blood to the head from Vaughan in March 2015, as his red card added to injury-time at Huddersfield and Jamar Loza was able to snatch an equaliser in the eighth minute of added time.

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