Lewis could be next to leave on loan

CHRIS LAKEY Teenage goalkeeper Joe Lewis could be the next Canaries youngster to be sent out on loan.


Teenage goalkeeper Joe Lewis could be the next Canaries youngster to be sent out on loan.

Rossi Jarvis and Matt Halliday both travelled down to League Two strugglers Torquay yesterday to begin a month's loan spell and fellow Academy product Lewis looks set to follow.

“I think Joe was outstanding in the last reserve game, he was brilliant, but at his age he needs game time now,” said Canaries boss Peter Grant. “That is very important.”

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“We have two top keepers in Marsh (David Marshall) and Gall (Paul Gallacher) here and we have young Steve Arnold, so we have to make sure we do the right thing for Joe now and it would be ideal if I could get him out on loan and playing.”

However, Grant would be reluctant to send Lewis, or any other player, to a club where their chances of first team football were limited.

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“I am loathe to put pressure on managers when they ask for them out on loan, but I think it is important that they go in the first game they play and then it's up to the player to stay in,” said Grant.

“I am not one of those managers who says, 'he has got to play', but I would hate him to go somewhere on loan and he's sitting on the bench, going away for a month not learning anything, because I would rather have him here.

“It is important if they are going anywhere that at least they are going to start the first game.”

Halliday didn't feature in Torquay's 4-1 victory over Grimsby last night, while Jarvis came on as an 83rd minute substitute with the game already won. Grant is hoping that Jarvis, in particular, now gets a few league games under his belt.

“I have said many times that he has played seven times here - he can get that in a month with the amount of games you play in the Football League,” said Grant.

“Also, it is men's football, it's a different environment from here. That's why I have no problems with people going no loan because I realise what it has done for the players we brought to Bournemouth - you had Rio Ferdinand, John O'Shea, Jermain Defoe, all these guys.

“I think sometimes it is better going away from the club environment if you've been here too long. Ian Henderson has been at the club for 12 years and he has never seen anything else apart from the Colney gates. Sometimes I think that opens their eyes and lets them appreciates what they have got. Also it gives them a chance to see what it's like playing competitive football.”

Torquay are rock bottom of the Football league, but Grant said that hadn't played a part in his decision to allow the two teenagers to join.

“You either want to play football or you don't want to play football,” he said. “I would rather be playing football than sitting in the stand every week, whether it was Torquay or Timbuctoo. It is men's football, theirs is about the performance, nothing else. If Torquay end up getting relegated it doesn't matter, they've played six, seven, 10, 20 games and it's a learning experience in itself. Fighting for your life is a learning experience.

“It is easy to sit in the middle road all the time and be comfortable, not playing games of football, training all week and being comfortable. Unfortunately football isn't like that. If you put them to good use you become a better all-round player and a better all-round person because you understand what it takes to get to that next level.”

Grant's fringe players were denied a rare chance of a run-out on Wednesday, when the reserves match against Northampton at Carrow Road was postponed because of snow - although Grant suggested the opposition line-up wouldn't have helped his cause.

“Had I realised Northampton had had a game on the night before I probably would have called it off anyway,” he said. “What experience is the likes of Peter Thorne and Paul McVeigh going to get against their youth team? The standard of the reserve team isn't good enough to test these players. The likes of Thorne and McVeigh and all these guys will get more out of training sessions than playing against a youth team.”

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