Let battle commence in the great Norwich City striker shoot-out
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil insists all bets are off in the battle to spearhead Norwich City's Premier League attack.
Cameron Jerome opened his account for the new season in the 3-1 weekend win against Bournemouth, before Dynamo Kiev loan signing Dieumerci Mbokani was unleashed in a late cameo.
Kyle Lafferty was kept in reserve after his prolific goalscoring exploits in Euro 2016 for Northern Ireland, and with Gary Hooper and Lewis Grabban also in the mix Neil feels there is now cut-throat competition in a key part of his side.
'I don't have anybody who I feel is my lead striker,' he said. 'The guys are picked on merit and it depends on who is showing up well in training and who is contributing in games that will determine who plays. There is not anybody I could honestly say is a definite every week because if performances drop then they need to be replaced or rotated.
'Mbokani is a big, strong lad and he is going to take a bit of time to adjust to the Premier League but you could see when the ball was worked into wide areas his desire to get into box and get on the end of things. He had a chance at the near post when he took about three bodies out and he was a bit unfortunate not to score.'
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Jerome is currently the man in possession after starting the last four Premier League games.
'He has worked really hard this season. Strikers will always be judged by goals but providing he works for the group and gives me everything he has got then he is doing fantastically well in that regard,' said Neil. 'If you look at us as a group we don't rely just on the strikers. Even going back to last year, the goals do get spread around across midfield.'
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Neil has tended to operate with one out-and-out striker since his arrival in England, with the modern fashion for a deeper-lying attacker to try and control midfield. Wes Hoolahan has been a major early season success in that key link role.
'Most teams now want to dominate the middle of the park and having that extra man in there allows you to control it a bit more,' said Neil.
'If you go with two up top, you give up that control and if teams flood that area against you, you can really struggle.
'If you look at someone like England over the years, in major competitions, they have gone with a flat four when countries like Italy and Spain go with five and that makes it tough.'