Canaries join race for Irish youngster

PUBLISHED: 13:01 09 May 2007 | UPDATED: 10:17 14 September 2010

Norwich City are among five clubs attempting to hijack teenage striker Mark McAllister's move to Celtic. The Glasgow giants are still in pole position to sign the 19 year-old from Irish side Dungannon Swifts although Leeds United, Cardiff City, Derby County, Coventry City and the Canaries are all trying to convince the player that his future lays in England.

Norwich City are among five clubs attempting to hijack teenage striker Mark McAllister's move to Celtic.

The Glasgow giants are still in pole position to sign the 19 year-old from Irish side Dungannon Swifts although Leeds United, Cardiff City, Derby County, Coventry City and the Canaries are all trying to convince the player that his future lays in England.

All these clubs, including Norwich, had scouts at Saturday's Irish Cup final where they saw McAllister miss the vital spot kick in a penalty shoot-out, which handed the cup to Linfield.

However, this has not deterred these potential suitors in letting their interest be known in the player, who has scored 15 goals in his first season at Dungannon.

McAllister admitted he would jump at the chance to move to a bigger club in England or Scotland.

“Of course I'd be interested in progressing my career,” he said. “It would be very hard to turn down the chance of a full-time career in either England or Scotland.”

Dungannon manager Harry Fay insisted the club is delighted for the player and admitted McAllister now has some thinking to do over the next few weeks.

“Five clubs were over looking at him in the final and one club definitely wants him.

“Obviously we're delighted for him and are determined to do what is best for him,” he said. “Mark has been unaware of what has been happening so he has some thinking to do.

“I was determined to keep things under wraps until after the cup final.”

Fay warned any clubs thinking of making a bid to make sure they go through the correct channels. “Celtic have come through the front door in their efforts to sign Mark and we appreciate that.

“They have been very professional, unlike some other clubs who have gone about in a very roundabout fashion and through third parties.

“I think some English clubs forget that Mark signed a two-year professional contract with us in November. He is still our player.”

City boss Peter Grant revealed in his Evening News column last week how hard his staff are working on scouring Europe for players to strengthen for next season. He cited the Irish league as a place his scouts will be checking on as their season continues over the summer.

Grant said: “We have been looking at players for months and we will keep watching in the weeks ahead because leagues in some countries play through the summer, as in Ireland, or go on long after ours have finished, for example in Spain. I prefer to sign British players but you have to explore all possibilities and we have been running the rule over players at home and abroad.”

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