Survival comes before squad overhaul

Paddy Davitt Norwich chief executive Neil Doncaster last night insisted Glenn Roeder's summer makeover project stays on the back burner until City secure their Championship status.

Paddy Davitt

Norwich chief executive Neil Doncaster last night insisted Glenn Roeder's summer makeover project stays on the back burner until City secure their Championship status.

Doncaster reiterated that the Canaries' board are committed to backing Roeder's radical overhaul after revealing the club could have just 15 contracted senior players by the end of this season.

And that's assuming that new deals can be agreed for skipper Mark Fotheringham and Gary Doherty, two out of a dozen current first team players out of contract in the summer.

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Doncaster is adamant the club's main focus must be on avoiding a late relegation battle after City slipped closer to the drop zone following Tuesday's home defeat to Stoke.

“Any discussions that do take place with the manager concern the job in hand,” said Doncaster. “We haven't identified potential targets because we still have a job to do.

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“Only when that is complete will we look towards next season. We have 12 players out of contract in the summer, leaving the manager with 15 current members of his squad.

“All I would say regarding those players out of contract is, as and when contracts come up for re-negotiation, if it's the wish of the manager to extend them then he will bring that to me and it's my job then to try to and carry out those wishes.”

Roeder made only one permanent signing in the January transfer window - Newcastle midfielder Matty Pattison - but Doncaster confirmed City's boss had additional funds at his disposal.

“It's fair to say he had the wherewithal,” said Doncaster. “It was the manager's decision how he used those funds.

“Whenever anybody ever asks about funds my response is consistent with the line this club has given over the last ten years - every penny we can find goes to the manager. He will then use those funds in any way he sees fit but equally we are a loss making enterprise. Whatever we do must also take account of the longer term view of the club as well as the short term.”

Doncaster refused to be drawn on Roeder's attempts to bolster his strike force with a plunge into the loan market ahead of the March 27 deadline.

The Canaries' have again been linked with Newcastle's out of favour striker Shola Ameobi. Roeder was strongly tipped to make a New Year move for the big frontman before Sam Allardyce's departure.

The former England U21 international started Kevin Keegan's first match in charge but has made only one further appearance as a late substitute in a heavy defeat at Arsenal.

“I have to assess players and I've told Shola what I think,” said Keegan recently. “You think he's a young lad, but he's 26 now and he's got to make the breakthrough quite quickly or maybe there's somewhere else he can do it. There's a better player in Shola than we've seen so far.”

Meanwhile, Bolton is the latest club reportedly tracking City midfielder Lee Croft. Wanderers' scouts have run the rule over the 22-year-old who was recently linked with a potential close season switch to Sunderland. Croft enters the final year of his current Carrow Road contract in the summer.


t Summer 2011: Matty Pattison, Adam Drury.

t Summer 2010: Jason Shackell, Chris Martin, David Marshall, Darel Russell, Jamie Cureton, Jon Otsemobor.

t Summer 2009: Michael Spillane, Matthew Gilks, Lee Croft, Simon Lappin, Luke Chadwick.

t Summer 2008: Mark Fotheringham, Gary Doherty, Darren Huckerby, Rossi Jarvis, Matthew Halliday, Ryan Jarvis, Bally Smart, Andrew Cave-Brown, Robert Eagle, Steven Arnold, Patrick Bexfield, Juan Velasco.

t Retiring: Dion Dublin.

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