Otsemobor sets sights on play-offs with the Saints
Chris Lakey Paul Lambert's rebuilding programme took its biggest step yesterday when Jon Otsemobor was allowed to leave Carrow Road on a free transfer.The full-back - whose contract was due to run out in the summer - has joined League One rivals Southampton on a six-month deal.
Paul Lambert's rebuilding programme took its biggest step yesterday when Jon Otsemobor was allowed to leave Carrow Road on a free transfer.
The full-back - whose contract was due to run out in the summer - has joined League One rivals Southampton on a six-month deal.
Lambert allowed young Danish defender Dario Dumic to return to his homeland earlier this week, but Otsemobor is the most significant of the six departures from the squad he inherited from Bryan Gunn last August.
“Jon did really well for me and he moves on with our best wishes, good luck to him,” said Lambert.
The 26-year-old had lost his place in recent weeks to Russell Martin, whose loan deal from Peterborough United was made permanent at the start of the month.
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Lambert has insisted that he is not under pressure to sell any of his players to balance the books, although Otsemobor was probably one of the higher earners.
His departure was perhaps signalled as soon as Martin came in, although Lambert has cover in the shape of Michael Spillane, who took over at right back earlier in the season and is currently on the way back from a hamstring injury.
“I spoke to the manager earlier today and he made it clear that first and foremost we want to get out of this league and take it on from there,” Otsemobor told the Saints website yesterday.
“I found myself in a situation at Norwich where I wasn't playing and was in the last year of my contract, so I sat down with the manager and said that it was important that I played games. Once I knew Southampton were interested it was a just a case of the getting the clubs to agree to a move.
“It's definitely set up for the Championship here. I don't know the lads yet, but the squad is decent, the lads just need a winning mentality and that's what the manager is going to try and instil into the squad.
“To be where we are after the
10-point deduction shows that there's been some sort of momentum, so I think it's case of trying to keep some consistency - if you get a good run together you never know where you can end up. If we can do it then the play-offs are a possibility.”
Otsemobor will provide competition at right-back for Alan Pardew's Saints team, who he faced earlier this season when he made his 100th appearance in a 2-2 draw at St Mary's.
He will provide immediate cover for the injured Graeme Murty and could make his debut as soon as tomorrow, when the Saints travel to Millwall, although he and fellow new signings Dan Seaborne and Jose Fonte will be ineligible for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy area final against MK Dons next Wednesday and the FA Cup tie at home to Ipswich the following Saturday.
“It's exciting to be involved in and whilst we'll have to watch from the sidelines we are Saints players now so we want them to do well and progress in both cups,” said Otsemobor.
“Whether the manager decides to put all three of us in straightaway is one you'll have to ask him, but we've come here and we want to play, as do the lads that are already here, so there'll be good competition for places and hopefully if you're good enough in training during the week then you'll get the shirt at the weekend.
“I've played against Saints a few times and you train through the week thinking about the players you'll face like (Adam) Lallana and (Rickie) Lambert. They're quality players so I'm looking forward to training with them.”
Otsemobor moved to Carrow Road in the summer of 2007 on a free transfer from Crewe Alexandra after beginning his career with Premier League giants Liverpool.
He progressed through the youth and reserve ranks at Anfield and made four first team appearances. He also had loan spells at Hull City, Bolton and Rotherham before settling under the guidance of Dario Gradi at Crewe. Otsemobor made 104 appearances for City, scoring twice.