Lambert is in the market for loan help

Paddy Davitt Norwich chief Paul Lambert gets a first proper chance to thumb through his well-worn contacts book from today with the opening of the loan window. The Scot can now recruit players on a short-term basis for the next three months in a bid to bolster the club's League One promotion push ahead of the New Year permanent transfer window re-opening.

Paddy Davitt

Norwich chief Paul Lambert gets a first proper chance to thumb through his well-worn contacts book from today with the opening of the loan window.

The Scot can now recruit players on a short-term basis for the next three months in a bid to bolster the club's League One promotion push ahead of the New Year permanent transfer window re-opening.

City's attempt to bounce back into the Championship at the first attempt could hinge on Lambert's ability to wheel and deal over a crucial phase of the campaign.


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The new Canaries' boss has so far drafted only Newcastle goalkeeper Fraser Forster into the squad he inherited from Bryan Gunn after a frustrating close to last week's summer transfer window.

Lambert does not have the funds that were made available to his predecessor during a close-season spending spree which attracted 12 new players to the club.

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City's boss must clearly offload any senior pros deemed surplus to requirements from the club's first team wage bill to free up finances for any potential moves into the loan market.

"We don't have the money to go and spend here, there and everywhere," said Lambert, after the window slammed shut last week. "We maybe tried to get loans or swaps but it never materialised. When the loan window opens up again we will try and look at it again but it's not easy when you've just come into the job and you've only got a couple of weeks to go in the transfer window. There are about 12 lads who are new to the football club as it is, so it is not easy."

Lambert's immediate priority after replacing Gunn was understandably shoring up a defence that shipped seven against his former side on the opening day.

Three clean sheets in the last three matches suggest Lambert's coaching methods have begun to percolate through his current squad.

But it's at the opposite end of the pitch that he surely will want fresh faces. City have scored 10 League One goals - a healthy total were it not for the fact five came in Lambert's first official game in charge against former club Wycombe.

Grant Holt is joined at the top of the club's league scoring charts by that prolific Danish defender Jens Berthel Askou.

Chris Martin, Cody McDonald and Jamie Cureton have one goal between them. Lambert in the past has not been afraid to tap into the old boys' network during previous loan dealings at both Wycombe and Colchester.

Lambert's former Celtic mentor Martin O'Neill has been a particularly productive source. Young Villa forward Sam Williams was his second loan signing within a month of moving to East Anglia while at Wycombe he brought in two more young Villans.

What price a reverse phone call to Villa Park for the prodigiously talented Nathan Delfouneso? An 18-year-old academy striker, he made his Premiership debut in the opening day defeat to Wigan but with Villa's Europa exit can expect limited opportunities behind the likes of John Carew, Emile Heskey and the rejuvenated Gabby Agbonlahor.

Lambert might well be able to persuade O'Neill a spell in League One is the perfect next stage in the youngster's development.

The City manager also appears to have a hotline to Preston and his former St Mirren team-mate Alan Irvine. Lambert prised defender Neal Trotman and striker Karl Hawley out of Deepdale for three months last season.

Hawley has since joined the Notts County revolution but Irvine may struggle to keep his four frontline strikers in gainful employment over the course of the next few months. Whether the likes of Neil Mellor, Jon Parkin and Stephen Elliott would want to drop down into League One might depend on how persuasive a negotiator Lambert is. Time will tell.

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