Stephen Elliott to join Norwich City on loan
Norwich City have confirmed they are poised to complete the loan capture of forward Stephen Elliott from Preston North End until the end of the season, subject to completion of a medical.
Norwich City were today poised to complete the loan capture of forward Stephen Elliott from Preston North End until the end of the season.
The Republic of Ireland international could go straight into the Canaries' squad for tomorrow's League One game against Yeovil at Carrow Road, subject to completing a medical.
Elliott was in Norwich yesterday to tie 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.
The former Manchester City trainee is 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.
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Elliott's arrival increases competition for attacking places. Grant Holt, Chris Martin and Wes Hoolahan have 57 goals between them in all competitions this season, while Oli Johnson and Cody McDonald, currently sidelined, have weighed in with crucial goals since Christmas but Elliott offers Lambert experienced cover should City pick up injuries or suspensions over the run-in.
Skipper Holt is two yellow cards away from an automatic ban ahead of battles against top six rivals later this month while City also face a testing April date at automatic promotion challengers Charlton.
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City followed up their initial interest after Elliott's proposed loan move to Preston's Championship rivals Barnsley fell through last week.
Elliott was an unused substitute in Preston's last two Championship games but Ferguson confirmed the Dubliner was well down the pecking order.
Former Norwich striker Chris Brown, Neil Mellor and Jon Parkin have all been preferred to the Irishman, while Ferguson also has highly-rated Manchester United loan recruit Danny Welbeck.
“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.
“It is a difficult one because Stephen is the fifth striker here. 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 came through the youth ranks at Manchester City and moved to Sunderland in 2004 after making only two substitute appearances under Kevin Keegan.
The 26-year-old immediately established himself as a first team regular at the Stadium of Light in the 2004-05 season and scored 16 goals as the Black Cats won the Championship title.
The Dublin-born front man also made his international debut for the Republic of Ireland that season against Croatia. He went on to score his first and only international goal to date in nine caps, against Cyprus in October 2005.
Premier League goals against Manchester United and Newcastle United followed but Sunderland were relegated from the Premier League in the 2005-06 season. His final season with the Black Cats ended the same as his first, winning the Championship title and after 23 goals in 88 appearances in all competitions on Wearside, Elliott teamed up again with manager Mick McCarthy at Wolves in a �750,000 move in 2007.
Wolves missed out on the Championship play-offs on goal difference in his only season at Molineux and the striker moved to Preston in the summer of 2008, where he has made 52 appearances, scoring eight goals, two of them this season.