‘James can definitely score goals... if he can add to that, then great’ - Lambert on Norwood
- Credit: Archant
Paul Lambert has backed striker James Norwood to deliver goals for his side as he ponders whether to hand the forward a start following Aaron Drinan’s cruel injury blow.
The young Irishman has been ruled out for around two months having suffered a thigh injury in the opening day win over Wigan, with the 22-year-old impressing over pre-season and claiming a starting place in Lambert’s side.
His absence, along with Kayden Jackson’s groin injury, means Lambert must now choose whether to go with Norwood or Oli Hawkins when Town visit Bristol Rovers tomorrow, with the former Tranmere man looking to be the favourite to get the nod.
Lambert knows Norwood, who struck 11 times last season in a campaign severely disrupted by injury, will put himself in positions to score but would also like to see the 30-year-old offer some of the link-up play which has helped Drinan impress in the early days of the season.
“He’s getting more game time but not as much as some of the other lads,” Lambert said of Norwood. “We’ll see how he is and then make a decision.
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“It’s the same with Oli, who has had limited time, but I thought he was excellent the other night. We’ll see how James is.
“He’s going to have to (be a focal point) because Oli Hawkins is great at that as well, even if his gametime is down.
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“With James he can definitely score goals, so if he can add that bit to his game then great.”
Norwood has been the subject of transfer interest this summer, with Fleetwood, Dundee United and Swindon Town all keen on the forward, but it’s understood the Blues are keen to keep hold of their marquee singing from last summer.
Similarly, Jackson was linked with a £2.5m move to Birmingham this week, with Lambert insisting he has still heard nothing from the St Andrew’s club, who have now signed former loanee Scott Hogan on a permanent deal.
“Nothing, no,” the Town boss said.
“We can’t do anything if he’s injured but maybe he’ll train with us today but this game comes to soon.”
Another potential option as a central striker is Freddie Sears, who has played almost exclusively as a wide forward under Lambert, with Welshman Gwion Edwards also impressing in that position of late.
“The good thing about Freddie is he’s versatile and can play through the middle, so we’ll see which way we go there,” Lambert said.
“Gwion has done well in the last two games so we’re really happy with how he’s playing. We have options there.”