Whaley's return to Carrow Road is shortlived

Simon Whaley looks to be on his way out of Carrow Road after manager Paul Lambert questioned his mental strength. The winger was allowed to join Bradford on loan yesterday - less than a week after returning from two months with Rochdale.

Simon Whaley looks to be on his way out of Carrow Road after manager Paul Lambert questioned his mental strength.

The winger was allowed to join Bradford on loan yesterday - less than a week after returning from two months with Rochdale.

Lambert admitted he didn't even see Whaley during his brief return to Norfolk - and it looks like City fans won't see too much of him either.

While the axe proved to be just the jolt that defender Gary Doherty needed, Lambert admits it might not work with the 24-year-old Whaley, who was signed from Preston in the summer by Lambert's predecessor, Bryan Gunn.


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“I'm not so sure - whether he's mentally as strong as the other lads, I will have to wait and see,” Lambert said. “I don't know too much about him. You have to got to be mentally strong to be a footballer, it's not just on ability alone, their character has got to be good as well and that's what I look for in a footballer.

“I have to pick lads that I think will win games and I have to get a group I think will see a season through and as I said when I came in, it will be tough for him.

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“I haven't had the chat with him, I haven't said with him, 'listen, you 100pc are going to be out of the door', or anything like that.

“When he comes back and I get the chance to speak to him I will tell him what I think.”

Doherty reacted positively to the axe, while Lambert also found a place for midfielder Darel Russell - although he insisted yesterday that the midfielder's exclusion from his early squads was simply down to fitness.

“The thing with Darel Russell was, I couldn't get him fit to see the lad,” he said. “When I came here he was just kicking a ball by himself really, so I couldn't get him fit. He hadn't trained and all those sort of things, so it wasn't that I never gave Darel a chance. The lad just wasn't fit enough to play and once he was fit I was going to throw him in. Then after training one day he came in with his calf really swollen so we couldn't get him for a number of weeks - and he's been absolutely terrific for me.

“And Doc - everybody knows that I dropped him and it might have been the jolt that he needed. If you become too complacent at a football club you get in a comfort zone and to be fair to Doc he has come back and he has been excellent.”

t Paul Lambert has brushed off claims that Wes Hoolahan is a target for Middlesbrough.

One national newspaper yesterday claimed new Boro boss Gordon Strachan wanted Hoolahan to replace Adam Johnson, who is expected to leave the Riverside during the January transfer window. But Lambert said the Irishman is going nowhere.

“I have not heard anything,” he said. “If we get about �8m or �9m I might consider it, but nothing less.”

t Norwich City take on East Anglian rivals Ipswich Town in an Under-18 Premier Academy League match at their Colney training centre today (11am).

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