Norwich City: Would It Be Sad to See Simeon Jackson Fly the Canaries Nest?
"It's been the toughest stage of my career."
That was the admission from Norwich City's Simeon Jackson only last week at the Club's weekly press conference, with the Canadian clearly growing ever frustrated at his lack of playing time.
As it was, Jackson did start the following fixture against Newcastle United but such opportunities have been few and far between this season with the former Gillingham man only managing to clock in 71 minutes of Premier League action in the three months prior to the clash with the Magpies.
The campaign had actually started promisingly for Jackson after being immediately introduced to the starting lineup as part of Chris Hughton's reaction to the 5-0 opening day battering at Fulham and he instantly justified that decision by scoring in the 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers.
However, despite playing well, the Canaries just couldn't find that elusive winning formula and unfortunately for Jackson, he was the man to make way as Hughton decided to drop the 4-4-2 system.
The embarrassing 5-2 defeat at the hands of Liverpool was the final straw for the Canaries boss, who recognised the patent need to tighten up defensively as his side continued to leak goals from all angles.
This meant swallowing his pride and switching to a more modern 4-2-3-1 formation and the transition worked to spectacular effect as the Canaries kick-started a resulting ten-match unbeaten run with a shock 1-0 win over Arsenal at Carrow Road.
The problem with this formation if you're a striker, however, is that there is only room for one of you.
Well, Grant Holt is pretty much a God in Norfolk and so it was Jackson who was inevitably made to bide his time away from the starting eleven and look on enviously from the sidelines.
As his side went from strength to strength, Jackson was very much the forgotten man, only managing to justify his wages with isolated cameo appearances from the bench despite not really doing a lot wrong.
Now, with the January transfer window in full swing, Norwich have been linked with striker after striker as Chris Hughton searches for more fire-power to help his goal-shy outfit.
In all honesty, this probably spells big trouble for Jackson who is likely to drop even further down the pecking order before the month is out if Hughton does strengthen his options up front, and the Wolverhampton Wanderers have reportedly set their sights on the 25-year-old as their No. 1 target, according to the Express & Star.
If Jackson was to leave, I must confess that I for one would be sad to see him go.
Despite struggling form when he first arrived at the Club from Gillingham in 2010, Jackson hit a real purple patch towards the end of the campaign and there is little doubt that without his wonderful contribution, City may have struggled to get over the finishing line.
The Canadian pretty much single-handedly grabbed Norwich their most precious three points of the season with another hat-trick in the unforgettable 3-2 victory over Derby County, with his injury time winner the difference between going into the final two games of the season in second or third spot as Cardiff City breathed down their necks.
Promotion back to the promised land was then secured in the following game as Jackson once again stepped up to the plate to bag the only goal against Portsmouth and secured his place in Canary folklore for eternity.
Admittedly, in the 18 months that have followed, Jackson has struggled for both minutes and goals in the Premier League, but no one can question his work-rate and commitment to the cause during that time.
It's clear that Jackson has suffered from Hughton choosing to play one up front, with the striker's lack of height an obvious drawback in allowing him to be competent in a role that is better accustomed to a more physical presence, such as Holt or Steve Morison.
For the sake of his career, it may be best for Jackson to seek opportunities elsewhere, although it could be argued that Jackson's pace in behind could be vital to the Canaries in the latter half of the campaign if Hughton decides to change the system once more.
Whatever happens, Jackson has played a starring role in one of the most successful periods in Norwich City's recent history.
If this is to be the end, Simeon, we salute you.
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