Whaley faces uncertain future

Michael Bailey Out of favour winger Simon Whaley is back at Norwich City after Rochdale failed to get a "better deal" to extend his loan stay. With the second month of the 24-year-old's emergency loan spell at Spotland now up and money tight at the League Two side, manager Keith Hill had tried to save a few pounds of his stretched budget by renegotiating the terms of Whaley's temporary stay in the north.

Michael Bailey

Out of favour winger Simon Whaley is back at Norwich City after Rochdale failed to get a "better deal" to extend his loan stay.

With the second month of the 24-year-old's emergency loan spell at Spotland now up and money tight at the League Two side, manager Keith Hill had tried to save a few pounds of his stretched budget by renegotiating the terms of Whaley's temporary stay in the north.

But the midfielder, who Canaries manager Paul Lambert has admitted will find it difficult to get back into his plans, is now left with an uncertain future.


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Hill said: "We tried to do a better deal with Norwich to extend Simon Whaley's stay by another month, but it proved too expensive."

The arrival of Manchester United goalkeeper Tom Heaton on loan is believed to have given Hill less room to manoeuvre in keeping Whaley at Spotland.

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Although Rochdale could yet re-sign the former Preston midfielder on loan in future, they are almost certainly unable to afford a permanent switch, with Norwich likely to want to recoup as much as they can of the �150,000 shelled out by then boss Bryan Gunn on signing him in the summer.

Whaley, who made six appearances for City before his loan move, has been a prolific provider for Dale loan striker Chris O'Grady since arriving at the end of September and helping maintain their unlikely promotion push with two goals of his own in eight starts and one substitute appearance in League Two.

However, despite his good form and the City boss' own lack of natural wingers, Lambert said of Whaley last month: "I haven't spoken to him, It will be tough for him. He's at Rochdale and doing okay at the minute, but it will be hard for him.

"I said from day one that we never really, in the wide areas, had great pace and the system we do play at this minute suits the personnel.

"The way they are playing they have been top of their game. Sometimes you have to have other avenues to go down. It's not set in stone, so if we had the personnel to change different things you look at it.

"But the most important thing is to have a team, you have a team ethic and a team work rate and we have that."

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