Window of opportunity for Norwich City

Michael Bailey The New Year signals the beginning of another football transfer window - and Norwich City manager Paul Lambert has already admitted he is likely to be one of the winter dealers.

Michael Bailey

The New Year signals the beginning of another football transfer window - and Norwich City manager Paul Lambert has already admitted he is likely to be one of the winter dealers.

A January shopping spree is traditionally hard to carry out according to most managers, who struggle to complete the moves they want mid-season.

However, Lambert has vowed to bring in "one or two" new faces to help his existing squad and ensure City keep pace with their League One promotion rivals, who the City manager also expects will to be busy over the course of January.


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The questions are, who comes in, where, and who for?

Lambert answered one of those posers after the Boxing Day win over Millwall. Left with Michael Nelson as his only fit centre-back thanks to Gary Doherty's suspension and injuries to Michael Spillane and Jens Berthel Askou, another towering defender tops his list.

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Young Exeter defender Danny Seaborne has been on Lambert's radar for months but is more of a left-back, meaning the City boss is likely to look elsewhere for defensive reinforcements.

More surprising is Lambert's desire to sign a striker, considering Grant Holt, Chris Martin and Wes Hoolahan have been in blistering form and plundered 46 goals between them already this season.

There have already been names in the pipeline. Rochdale's 13-goal striker, Chris Dagnall and Cambridge United striker Chris Holroyd - scorer of 15 goals in 25 Conference appearances - have been mentioned in dispatches during the autumn while Southend's Lee Barnard was linked with a move to Carrow Road yesterday.

However, one new striker in is almost certain to raise question marks over the future of two City stars.

Jamie Cureton, in the last year of his current contract and free to talk to other clubs from January, last made a league appearance at the end of October, while the story is similar for Paul McVeigh.

A more certain departure is Simon Whaley, who appears to be a long way from Lambert's plans following successive loan spells at Rochdale and Bradford.

Both clubs took a liking to City's out of favour winger, but whether either have the money to buy a player who only signed for Norwich in the summer remains to be seen.

However, Lambert may be tempted to wave Whaley as the carrot to lure Dagnall in the opposite direction.

It is fully expected right-back Russell Martin and winger Anthony McNamee will complete permanent moves, from Peterborough United and Swindon respectively.

The fee for Martin, who has slotted into Lambert's squad seemlessly, is likely to be modest, while McNamee has been used sparingly and may come with a larger fee - although Swindon chairman Andrew Fitton is not expecting the winger back at the County ground any time soon.

The Canaries have declared they do not need to sell their star assets, although clubs will have noted the form of Hoolahan, Holt and Doherty, while Darel Russell and Jon Otsemobor - both free agents next season as things stand - can sign pre-contract agreements with other clubs from the new year.

That's something Lambert may be keen to rectify with new contracts.

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