Kyle Lafferty setting his sights on a starting spot for Norwich
Northern Ireland star Kyle Lafferty has promised to be patient and keep working in his bid to become a regular in the Norwich City team after scoring on his first appearance of the season for the Canaries.
Lafferty came off the bench to cheers from the Norwich faithful on Wednesday night to net in the Carrow Road club's impressive 3-0 home victory over fellow Premier League outfit West Bromwich Albion in the third round of the Capital One Cup.
It was a fantastic moment for Lafferty after a frustrating period with the East Anglian outfit.
The Fermanagh man's second half goal, when the score was 1-0, was typical of the form he has shown at international level over the past year, displaying strength and speed to move in front of his marker before delivering a left foot finish. He was also instrumental in the late own goal that sealed Norwich's triumph.
Whether his performance will be enough to earn him some game time at West Ham tomorrow in the Premier League remains to be seen, especially given that despite his stunning form for Northern Ireland Lafferty didn't make the bench in Norwich's 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield last weekend.
Lafferty certainly didn't seem too hopeful of a start at Upton Park after the League Cup game.
"Buzzing to get on the pitch and delighted to get a goal. Reception I got coming on means a lot. Thank you. As much as I'd love to play or play a part on Saturday I know one goal will hardly have much of a say," he wrote on Twitter.
The 28-year-old added though that he intends putting the graft in to give manager Alex Neil a selection headache going forward.
"Be patient, hard work and my time will come," said Lafferty.
"We've got a lot of good strikers at the club that have done really well last season and started well this season. Work and determination will be the key to fight my way into the team."
Lafferty may have scored seven goals in eight Euro 2016 group games taking Northern Ireland to the top of the Group F table and to the verge of qualification for next year's finals, but for Norwich boss Neil, the striker from Kesh remains down the pecking order.
He was content to see the player go out on loan last season and this week there has been speculation linking Lafferty with a move to Switzerland in January, to one of his former clubs, Sion.
Lafferty would prefer to make the grade at Norwich, where he is popular with the fans, and will have been interested and pleased to hear his manager's assessment after the West Brom game.
Neil said: "He (Lafferty) did great. He got his goal, and for the third goal if he is not in that position then the chances are the ball doesn't go into the net. I think with the limited time he had on the pitch he did as much as he could to be honest.
"I thought all the guys who had an opportunity showed up exceptionally well. The desire to get into the starting XI on a regular basis was there for all to see. As a manager all the boxes you wanted ticked were there. I couldn't be more pleased."
Lafferty wasn't the only Northern Ireland striker to hit the net on Wednesday with good friend Josh Magennis bagging a brace in Kilmarnock's 3-2 defeat to Hearts in the Scottish League Cup.
The race really is heating up to replace the suspended Lafferty for Northern Ireland's crucial Euro 2016 qualifier on October 8 with Greece at Windsor Park when a home win would take Michael O'Neill's side to the finals.
Magennis is in fine scoring form, as are Ross County's Liam Boyce and Aberdeen's Niall McGinn, who could play up front rather than out wide. O'Neill is delighted to see so many of his squad playing so well ahead of the biggest match of the campaign.