Updated: Norwich City striker Kyle Lafferty in contention for Birmingham debut after Blues’ boss dismisses season-ending injury talk
PUBLISHED: 12:52 31 March 2016 | UPDATED: 18:39 31 March 2016
Norwich City striker Kyle Lafferty could make his Birmingham debut this weekend, after Blues’ boss Gary Rowett dismissed speculation the Northern Ireland international had suffered a potential season-ending groin injury on international duty.
Rowett has not ruled out the frontman making his Birmingham debut at Charlton on Saturday following an emergency loan window move to St Andrews prior to playing in Northern Ireland’s recent friendlies against Wales and Slovenia.
Lafferty suffered a groin injury during a second half cameo in his country’s latest midweek 1-0 win over Slovenia at Windsor Park, but Rowett made it clear on Thursday lunchtime reports the 28-year-old could be out for up to six weeks were wide of the mark.
“I was surprised to read things claiming he would miss the rest of the season. That’s not the case at all,” Rowett told Birmingham’s official site. “Kyle has a tightness in the groin, just due to the fact he hasn’t played that often this season.
“He’s been with the physios today and hopefully we will be able to get him out on the training field Friday. The weekend might come a little too soon for him, but he is certainly not ruled out - and certainly he’s not going to be missing for six weeks or the rest of season.”
Reports in the Irish media claimed the Norwich City striker could be absent for the Blues’ Championship promotion push and facing a race against time to spearhead his country’s Euro 2016 bid.
Rowett admits bringing in Lafferty is a gamble.
“It was a tough decision as a club, because do we bring a player like that in and use the funds that we’ve got available?” he said. “That’s why we’ve waited in terms of loan options as well because we’ve had to build that pot of money up so that we can try and make an impact late on in the season. And the decision has been do we still chase what’s still there by bringing another striker in at high cost or do we save it until next season and make us a little bit stronger next season?
“I’ve chosen to gamble because I think we’ve got to do that for the fans and the players. Let’s have a go and try and be as ambitious as we can and whatever happens after this point happens.
“He’s a player we’ve always liked. He’s a little bit of a character as well which is something at this stage of the season you also look for and we think he is someone that can come in and handle all that pressure of being in this situation. Of course he hasn’t played that much football but when he has done with Northern Ireland in particular he’s scored goals. We’ve not had enough goals from our other players so we need to do what we can. He’s got real energy and he’s a willing runner as part of his game which I think is good.”