Just what the Doc ordered
Paddy Davitt Norwich boss Paul Lambert admits Gary Doherty is playing his way back into his long-term Carrow Road plans. Doherty appeared surplus to requirements after being frozen out of Lambert's League One squad following the Scot's arrival from Colchester.
Norwich boss Paul Lambert admits Gary Doherty is playing his way back into his long-term Carrow Road plans.
Doherty appeared surplus to requirements after being frozen out of Lambert's League One squad following the Scot's arrival from Colchester.
The Irishman is now a permanent fixture in Lambert's starting line-up after being recalled for the emphatic home league win over Orient in late September following a spate of defensive injuries.
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Doherty is free to talk to potential suitors in the January window with his current City deal set to expire in the summer - but Lambert hinted he could offer the 29-year-old a new contract.
"He has done terrific for me," said Lambert. "I thought last Saturday he was immense at Stockport and he has come in and done great. It has been a big, big turnaround for him and that is testament to him and what he is doing. Make no mistake, he is in the team on merit.
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"I had a chat with him and asked him if he was ready to come back in when we had those injuries and he has done very well. He is out of contract in the summer but he is not the only one - there are a group of lads in the same situation - and they have all played their part. At this minute he has been back in for the last six or seven weeks so that is all he can do. He is certainly giving me a problem that is for sure."
Doherty revealed recently he was convinced his five year Carrow Road career was over prior to a heart-to-heart with Lambert.
"We sat down and he said I wasn't really in his plans," said Doherty. "He told me he was going with other players which was fair enough, that is what managers do, but then with all the injuries we've got he just asked me in and said, 'Where is your head at? I need you to play.' Obviously from my point of view I want to play. I want to be part of something that he is building and I think we are looking strong and I want to be a part of that because it looks like we might have some success."
Lambert is working overtime to bolster his threadbare defence before the New Year window after confirming Michael Spillane is set to be sidelined until Christmas. The Canaries' chief was hitting the phones right up until today's FA Cup first round trip to Paulton in a bid to bring in a
right back on loan.