Norwich City sign Stephen Elliott on loan
Paddy Davitt Norwich City boss Paul Lambert has bolstered his potent attack with the loan signing of Preston hitman Stephen Elliott. The Republic of Ireland international will go straight into the Canaries squad for Saturday's League One game against Yeovil at Carrow Road after completing his medical.
Norwich City boss Paul Lambert has bolstered his potent attack with the loan signing of Preston forward Stephen Elliott.
The Republic of Ireland international will go straight into the Canaries squad for tomorrow's League One game against Yeovil at Carrow Road after completing his medical.
Elliott tied up an emergency loan deal for the rest of the season after North End boss Darren Ferguson admitted the 26-year-old striker was surplus to requirements at Deepdale.
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The former Manchester City trainee has yet to feature for the Scot but is a proven Football League performer, with two Championship titles on his CV during a three-year stint at Sunderland.
Elliott's arrival increases competition on first choice 32-goal league strike force Grant Holt and Chris Martin. Oli Johnson and Cody McDonald have both weighed in with crucial goals since Christmas but Elliott offers Lambert experienced cover should City pick up injuries or suspensions over the run-in.
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Lambert said today: “Elliott's an international, he's played nine times for Ireland, he's only 26. He's played in the league above us. He was at Manchester City, Wolves and Sunderland. He knows the game and I just feel it's vital we bring in somebody to boost the other lads, to keep them on their toes.
“He knows what it's about, he knows Wes Hoolahan and Gary Doherty from the Irish squad and he's different from what we've got.
“He'll chase lost causes and he'll do great for us, I think.”
The City boss said it was an ideal time to strengthen his squad with 12 matches left for the League One leaders.
He said: “The time to strike is when you're doing well, not when you're struggling. That's my thinking.
“If anything happens to somebody else you have to have other people to come in and give the rest a hand. That's always been my view.
“Cody McDonald's still injured, Luke Daley has been injured. It's incredible what Oli Johnson has done at the minute, but we don't really have that much cover.”
Skipper Holt is two yellow cards away from an automatic ban ahead of battles against top six rivals later this month.
Norwich followed up their initial interest after Elliott's proposed loan move to Preston's Championship rivals Barnsley fell through last week.
Elliott had been an unused substitute in North End's last two Championship games but Ferguson confirmed the Dubliner is now well down the pecking order.
Former Norwich striker Chris Brown, Neil Mellor and Jon Parkin have all been preferred to the Irishman, while Preston also have highly-rated Manchester United loan recruit Danny Welbeck.
“Obviously he got back involved in the last couple of games, but I feel that if Danny's fit, five strikers is one too many,” said Ferguson. “It gives him an opportunity to go and get games; he hasn't had many. I felt, because it was Norwich, it was a good one for him and he was keen on going. I feel we have enough, with Danny fit, Neil, Chris and Jon and with a lot of games coming up we have to try and keep them as fit as we possibly can.
“I have brought people into the building and I have to bear in mind the need to balance the books as well. Stephen is a well established professional and the lad needs to get himself some games, at the moment he's not getting them here.
“Barnsley were supposedly very interested last month but that one didn't come to fruition. There have been a few sniffs here and there, nothing concrete though, and nothing which really suited Stephen.”
Elliott failed to make the grade at Manchester City but plundered 23 goals in 88 appearances for Sunderland, although his one crack at the Premiership was blighted by injury.
The Irish international linked up again with ex-Black Cats boss Mick McCarthy at Wolves in a reported �750,000 move at the start of the 2007 season but was transfer-listed the following summer after the Molineux outfit failed to make the Championship play-offs.
Elliott had scored twice for Preston this season in 13 appearances but last featured in North End's 7-0 FA Cup third round romp against Colchester.