Loans offer City escape from danger
Chris Lakey Norwich boss Glenn Roeder doesn't want to contemplate what might have happened had he not raided the Premiership loan market in his bid to save the sinking Carrow Road ship.
Norwich boss Glenn Roeder doesn't want to contemplate what might have happened had he not raided the Premiership loan market in his bid to save the sinking Carrow Road ship.
Within 24 hours of walking into the manager's office at the end of October, Roeder had taken Martin Taylor from Birmingham for a month; within three games he hit the phones again, bringing in Matty Pattison from Newcastle, Mo Camara from Derby and Ched Evans from Manchester City as the full extent of City's woes became apparent.
The exit doors were left open over Christmas for a procession of discards, clearing space in the dressing room for Ryan Bertrand, Matthew Bates, and, on January transfer deadline day, Kieran Gibbs, James Henry and Alex Pearce.
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While a few eyebrows were raised at the extent of Roeder's use of the loan market - he currently has six on his books - few would argue that he didn't get his sums right. The transformation of a side that was four points adrift at the bottom the day he arrived to one which is now just seven points off the play-offs is proof enough.
But what might have been?
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"Had we not taken one loan player this year with the state of the squad that I inherited - I wouldn't even want to go there," said Roeder. "The league table doesn't lie - eight points at the end of October. Certainly not over achieving was it?"
Arsenal and Chelsea are undoubtedly benefiting from sending players like Gibbs and Bertrand to Norwich to gain experience - but that benefit is mutual.
"I think every single one of them has contributed in some shape or form," said Roeder. "They have certainly raised the level of quality in training every day. There is no doubt about it, it is the combination of our players that we have got signed and the loan players that have got us in the position we are in today."
Reading winger Henry and young Gunner Gibbs could be recalled by their clubs now that their initial 28 days are over, but Roeder isn't expecting a call any time soon.
"I wouldn't see any reason for either club or manager wanting to take either one of the players back," he said. "Although they are not always playing week in, week out they are getting valuable experience being involved at a senior level every single day. I am not picking either manager's team, but I wouldn't have thought probably either of them would be used regularly every single day at their clubs."