Roeder adds 'OJ' to Norwich City squad

Chris Lakey Glenn Roeder has won the race to sign Portsmouth's teenage striker Omar Koroma - and says he is just three steps away from completing his summer rebuilding programme.

Chris Lakey

Glenn Roeder has won the race to sign Portsmouth's teenage striker Omar Koroma - and says he is just three steps away from completing his summer rebuilding programme.

Norwich fans could get their first glimpse of the 18-year-old in today's final pre-season friendly against Colchester - although that is dependant on Portsmouth, who are awaiting clearance from the Gambian FA to sign the player. Once that is completed Koroma will join City on a season-long loan deal, with Roeder having beaten off a clutch of Championship rivals for his signature.

The City boss has also filled another problem area by signing goalkeeper Stuart Nelson on a one-year contract as back-up to David Marshall.


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That leaves Roeder looking for three more players, including a seasoned target man and a central defender - all of whom he expects to be at Carrow Road by the time the transfer window closes on August 31.

Roeder confirmed the target man should be in place before the season-opener at Coventry next weekend, but claimed that reports of a failed bid for Leicester's Steve Howard were incorrect.

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“We have got our eye on one or two but it is just proving difficult to get - one of them is not Steve Howard,” he said.

“He (Koroma) is not a target man. We have three similar forwards at the moment - in European football you can get away with it but in England in my opinion as much as you want to play good football and pass the ball through midfield into the front parts of the team you still need a big target man.

“I think by the time the window closes I would like to think we would have three more players here and one of those should be a target man. I would like to bring in an experienced striker. The other two positions and the age of those other two players - I will let you guess that.”

Roeder has had Koroma - nicknamed OJ - watched during an impressive pre-season trial period with Pompey, where his former West Ham colleague Harry Redknapp was impressed enough to offer the youngster a full-time contract.

And the Pompey boss - whose recruitment policy Roeder has often pointed to as the way forward for English football clubs - has entrusted his former coach with the task of helping mature a promising young talent.

“He looks very, very lively and in a couple of 11 v 11 matches we have had he has knocked the ball in the back of the net a few times, so he looks well above average for an 18-year-old,” said Roeder.

“I am very pleased Harry Redknapp has allowed him to come to us. We have watched him play in a couple of pre-season friendlies and so have other Championship clubs and everyone was on the phone wanting to take him.

“We have had to beat off three or four other Championship clubs that wanted to take him, but fortunately Harry and I know each other and he is happy for him to come here. He knows the football club, he knows me and he will play games for us.

“He is an exciting young talent. He is 18 - supporters are going to have to be patient with him. Like all 18-year-olds, they make a few mistakes, but then so do 28-year-olds and 38-year-olds. I have always been a manager that has played young players wherever I have been, at Gillingham, Watford, West Ham and Newcastle I always liked giving young players an opportunity.

“There is a rawness, there is a hunger about their play and OJ has shown that in the small amount of time we have had him out there on the practise ground how energetic he is.

Nelson featured on the Sweden tour and against Gorleston, Dereham and King's Lynn. The 26-year-old was a free agent after leaving Leyton Orient at the end of last season.

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