Rams in £5m link to Earnie

PUBLISHED: 09:43 07 June 2007 | UPDATED: 10:19 14 September 2010

CHRIS LAKEY

Canaries striker Robert Earnshaw could be a target for Premiership new boys Derby County. Reports in the Midlands say Rams boss Billy Davies has Earnshaw on his summer shopping list as he seeks to increase his strike power at Pride Park.

Canaries striker Robert Earnshaw could be a target for Premiership new boys Derby County.

Reports in the Midlands say Rams boss Billy Davies has Earnshaw on his summer shopping list as he seeks to increase his strike power at Pride Park.

Watford are said to have been keen on landing the Welsh hitman, but relegation from the top flight means Derby are now in the driving seat.

The carrot for the Canaries is said to be £5m of Derby's promotion treasure chest which they may find hard to refuse, even though manager Peter Grant has been told he doesn't have to sell players this summer.

Earnshaw - who still has two years left on his Carrow Road contract - scored 19 goals in an injury-hit first full season for City, but has never hidden his desire to return to the top flight and his agent, David Baldwin, believes the 26-year-old's scoring record makes him an obvious target.

“Robert could probably score more goals in a season than any other player in Championship football,” he said. “As for his future, obviously we will have to wait and see. He is a Norwich player at the moment and enjoying being a Norwich player so it would probably depend on Norwich and if they needed to cash in on him.

“If they do I guess they would get more for Robert than anyone else in their squad so he is obviously a target.

“I saw him after the Wales game at the weekend, we had a brief conversation and I said if anything crops up we would talk, and that was it.”

Earnshaw's pace and his Premiership experience - he scored 12 goals in just 22 Premiership starts for West Brom before moving to Norwich in January 2006 - are sure to attract interest, although Davies says his hunt for players will begin in earnest as soon as he has met with chairman Peter Gadsby.

However, while Davies has his targets in mind, he says the play-offs have put him three weeks behind the rest of the Premiership in terms of preparation.

“The play-offs add three weeks on to your season and it means we are behind other clubs with regards to building for the new campaign,” he said. “I felt at the start of last season we started chasing new signings a little bit early, but we had to because of the size of the squad. We had to get players in.

“This time, no matter the timescale, we have to take it slow. We have to be methodical and precise when picking players. We have to be spot-on with our investments to make sure we build this club up for the Premier League in the right manner.

“There will be no rush signings, we cannot afford rush signings. We cannot afford to panic because the clock is ticking towards the start of the season. We have to be so clever, so sure on who we are bringing to the club to play at this level.”

Davies is also said to be keen on strikers David Nugent, James McFadden and Francis Jeffers - also a target for Ipswich - while he is reportedly ready to bid £2m for West Ham winger Matthew Etherington.

t Norwich have been warned to be realistic if they want to prise defender Paul Dixon away from Dundee.

Chief executive Dave MacKinnon launched a thinly-veiled attack on the Canaries after reports that the Scottish Division One outfit had turned down a bid of £100,000 for the 20-year-old left-back.

“We are not naive enough to think that a club like ours has the luxury of turning down offers out of hand,” he said. “Every player has his price, but we are not in the business of giving ours away.

“Indeed, we have offered Paul a contract and are looking to build for the future with him involved.

“There has been this interest in him and undoubtedly there will be more, but we need bids to match our valuation before we can even consider them.”

Dixon - given his debut by Norwich's assistant manager Jim Duffy during one of his spells in charge at Dundee - has a year left on his contract but has apparently stalled on signing an extension

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