On-loan keeper finally gets his chance

CHRIS LAKEY A three-month wait for first team action finally ends for on-loan keeper Lee Camp tonight when he runs out in a Norwich City shirt for the first time.c


A three-month wait for first team action finally ends for on-loan keeper Lee Camp tonight when he runs out in a Norwich City shirt for the first time.

The 22-year-old hasn't played a first team game since Derby's 4-3 defeat at Colchester in August, and the prospects of first team football at Carrow Road seemed remote when new manager Peter Grant came in six weeks ago and quickly brought in Jamie Ashdown on loan from Portsmouth.

But Ashdown's return and the weekend injury to number one choice Paul Gallacher has thrust camp into the spotlight for the first time.

It's an opportunity he doesn't intend wasting.

“Keepers need games, I think that is well documented, but I am ready,” said Camp. “I've been training hard and hopefully the adrenaline will get me through and will probably make up for my lack of match games recently.

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“It's a big year - at the end of the season it's the under-21 European Championships and I want to be a part of that. And obviously if you are playing and playing well it is going to be a lot easier to keep in the squad, so it is an opportunity to play and I have to grasp it with both hands.”

Camp started the season in goal for Derby, but knew his number was up when manager Billy Davies played Lee Grant and then new signing Stephen Bywater.

“He just said he thought the position needed freshening up,” said Camp. “Stephen Bywater was available and he said he wanted to take him so there isn't a lot more I can say. Billy Davies was honest about the situation from minute one and that's all you can ask As long as people are honest with you, you can't really ask for much more.”

Camp's mood wouldn't have improved much when he realised he wasn't going to be number one at Norwich, and Ashdown's arrival confirmed his worst feelings.

“The manager was completely honest about the situation, he wanted to bring his own man in, which I had absolutely no problem with, and he kept me in the picture all the way through. For whatever reasons it has not worked out with Jamie and he spoke to me and I am happy with what he said.

“It's been slightly frustrating, but these things happen. I have been lucky the last couple of years to have pretty much been a regular number one at Derby and got used to playing and when you don't it is a frustrating period. But it's been good coming here, I have enjoyed every minute of it so far and if play tomorrow night it will be great.

“I want to play football, it is as simple as that and when the opportunity came to come here I thought it was the right club for me, I still do.

“Billy Davies has made it clear that there is no future for me at Derby so you look to pastures new and as soon as the opportunity came up to come here I didn't really have to think about it.”

Grant is keen to talk with Camp when the transfer window opens in January, but the keeper is giving little away.

“Me and the manager have spoken about things,” he said. “I would prefer to keep that private between me and him. Obviously I have to go back on the ninth anyway so when the window reopens in January we have spoken about the possibility of a return.”