Rumours linking James Norwood with a departure from Portman Road are premature, according to a report by the EADT.
Norwood struggled with injuries last season, scoring just 11 times after leaving Tranmere Rovers. That came from 22 starts, but he bagged just three in eleven after Christmas as his, and Ipswich’s, form tailed off.
That led to links over the weekend that he was a target for former boss Mickey Mellon at Dundee United, as well as for Joey Barton at Fleetwood and even Swindon Town. It’s understood the Robins are hunting the prolific forward, but could only look to take him on loan.
Whilst news of Swindon entering the hunt has excited their supporters, there’s no indication Ipswich will allow him to move to a rival on a temporary basis. This weekend, manager Paul Lambert made it very clear he expects the forward to stay put and help Ipswich back to the Championship.
“I don’t know about Dundee United but could they afford him? I don’t think so,” Lambert said of the link with Mellon.
“James needs to show me what he can do to get back into the team and get back to doing what he did at Tranmere. If he does that then he’s got another chance here to go and perform the way he can do.”
Norwood was in the stands as his Ipswich teammates faced Spurs this weekend, and he may even feature against West Ham tomorrow.
He’s a goal scorer, the lad, but he has to get himself fit which is important,” said the former Norwich City boss, who was then asked if Norwood was still part of his ongoing plans. “Yeah, yeah. He had an unfortunate time with injury and also went off the boil, like all of us did.”
Norwood has previously appeared for Forest Green and Tranmere, bagging 143 league goals in 330 career starts.
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James Norwood equals goals and the real shock here is the way in which Lambert appears to be casting him aside, as though last season was a flop. He only started 22 games, averaging a goal every other start, and yet he’s being spoken about as though he has something to prove; if he’d played thirty-odd games he might have been touching 20 gaols, the Holy Grail for supporters and managers alike.
The only thing he has to prove is his fitness, but that isn’t a reason to link him with a move away from the south east. If he is played in an attacking system which feeds him chances, he will score. Maybe Paul Lambert should concentrate on how his side creates chances, not on a striker who is known to put the ball in the net wherever he plays.