Morecambe desperate to extend Lewis loan

Morecambe boss Sammy McIlroy hopes City's goalkeeper shortage will not scupper his attempts to keep England U21 stopper Joe Lewis on loan for the rest of the season.

By PADDY DAVITT

Morecambe boss Sammy McIlroy hopes City's goalkeeper shortage will not scupper his attempts to keep England U21 stopper Joe Lewis on loan for the rest of the season.

The former Northern Ireland chief is desperate to extend the 20-year-old's initial deal that expires on December 31.

Canaries' manager Glenn Roeder was frustrated recently in his attempts to recall Lewis early or Dunfermline-bound Paul Gallacher after David Marshall's deputy Matty Gilks suffered ankle ligament damage.


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Academy youngster Steven Arnold was drafted in as emergency cover for the club's Championship wins over Coventry and Blackpool.

Gilks was initially ruled out for three months after picking up a training ground injury but the former Rochdale trainee is now targeting an earlier New Year return following a successful operation.

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McIlroy admitted he had sounded out the Canaries' hierarchy to prolong Lewis' first team education.

“We're trying to finalise it - I've spoken to the Norwich goalkeeping coach and we're waiting for an answer,” he said. “We are coming into December now and I need to know for my own part and what we do about our situation.

“We would love to keep the big lad, he has been absolutely fantastic for us. I think he is going to go to the top, I really do. He has got the right attitude, he is still learning - but he wants to learn.

“Hopefully he has been enjoying playing regular football. If we are allowed to keep him longer then big Joe has a decision to make. It would be entirely up to him.”

Lewis has been a revelation at the Coca Cola League Two new boys despite missing a month with the Shrimpers after suffering a horrific head injury.

The young stopper needed 20 stitches after a sickening collision with Rotherham's Chris O'Grady.

Lewis returned to City's Colney training base as part of his rehab but was back on duty this week for Morecambe's league double over Grimsby and Bury.

“We missed him when he was out because he has been superb for us,” said McIlroy. “He went to Norwich for his treatment but they were brilliant with us. The two physios spoke regularly and the club kept us informed to tell us how he was coming along. Hopefully Norwich will see that Joe is benefiting from playing games Our regular keeper broke his arm but he's now back fully fit The way I see it Joe is in charge of the shirt at the moment.”

Lewis has chalked up 18 appearances in his injury-hit loan spell - featuring in the Carling Cup giant killing win at Wolves and defeat at Sheffield United in the next round.

The City youth prospect was also drafted into Stuart Pearce's England U21 set up for the Uefa qualifier against Bulgaria in September.

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