Norwich City 'keeper goes AWOL
David Cuffley Norwich City goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos was today facing disciplinary action from the club after failing to show up for last night's Johnstone's Paint Trophy match at Gillingham.
Norwich City goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos was today facing disciplinary action from the club after failing to show up for last night's Johnstone's Paint Trophy match at Gillingham.
The 28-year-old Australian's future at Carrow Road was plunged into doubt with manager Paul Lambert admitting: “He let everybody down.”
Lambert refused to go into specific details about Theoklitos' absence, though it is believed he failed to turn up for the team bus travelling to Kent.
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It meant City had just four players on the substitutes' bench for the second round tie with no reserve 'keeper to call on.
Lambert was without Declan Rudd, who is on England Under-19 duty, and on-loan Fraser Forster was back in the starting line-up.
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The City boss was clearly unhappy at being left in the lurch by a player whose only first team appearance this season was the humiliating 7-1 defeat on the opening day at home to Colchester.
“Michael will be disciplined by the club when I go back. I'll speak to him before you lads. It is only right Michael will know what's happened,” said Lambert.
“He should have been here, but he's not. Nobody is bigger than the club.
“You'll find out in due course. It's only right I tell the player himself what's happened.
“He let everybody down - that's all I will say. He let himself down and he let the group of players down and let the club down.”
City's 1-0 victory meant that in the end Theoklitos was not missed, but had Forster been injured - or sent off as he was in the League One game on the same ground 10 days earlier - there could have been serious consequences.
Instead, Lambert was able to praise a team showing eight changes from the 5-1 win over Bristol Rovers because of injury and, in Rudd's case, unavailability, with four first team debutants contributing to the victory.
“It was absolutely terrific. I said that I wouldn't be able to field the team which has been playing brilliantly so far so the young lads came in and did terrific,” said Lambert.
“We should have been a couple of goals up in the first half, but I'm delighted we got through. As I said, if you're in something you may as well try and win it, especially with the team that we had to field due to injuries. I am delighted with another win.”
City visit Carlisle in League One on Saturday, hoping that Grant Holt (shin) and Darel Russell (neck) will be fit, along with last night's other absentees, Adam Drury, Simon Lappin, Korey Smith and Wes Hoolahan. Michael Spillane is likely to be out for a period of weeks with a hamstring injury.
“A lot of lads are back at home in Norwich nursing some injuries and hopefully we will get some of them back,” said Lambert.
“We still have another three days to recover and I can't play lads that are injured.
“I am not playing lads who are injured for the sake of the tournament.”