Southend's Barnard linked with Norwich City

PUBLISHED: 12:40 01 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:52 10 September 2010

Southend striker Lee Barnard (left) could be on Paul Lambert's wish list during the January transfer window.

Southend striker Lee Barnard (left) could be on Paul Lambert's wish list during the January transfer window.

Paddy Davitt

Norwich City boss Paul Lambert could be poised to enter the New Year transfer window race for Southend's League One hotshot Lee Barnard. City's cash-strapped East Anglian rivals are reportedly ready to off load the £250,000-rated 17-goal striker, who is stalling on a fresh contract offer at Roots Hall.

Norwich City boss Paul Lambert could be poised to enter the New Year transfer window race for Southend's League One hotshot Lee Barnard.

City's cash-strapped East Anglian rivals are reportedly ready to off load the £250,000-rated 17-goal striker, who is stalling on a fresh contract offer at Roots Hall.

The prolific 25-year-old targetman - in the last year of his current deal - is free to talk to potential suitors, with Lambert scouring the market in a bid to bolster his frontline for the Canaries' promotion push.

Championship outfit Coventry made an enquiry last summer while City's play-off rivals Millwall have been heavily linked with the former Spurs trainee.

Lions' chief Kenny Jackett yesterday distanced himself from an imminent move but the Shrimpers will find it hard to hold onto their prized asset, after staving off a High Court winding up order in November.

Barnard has scored one more league goal than City skipper Grant Holt - plundering 35 league goals in just 59 starts since his arrival at Roots Hall on a free from Tottenham in January 2008.

The Romford-born forward was well marshalled in Norwich's recent 3-0 away league win at Southend but Lambert could be tempted to make a move as he steps up his efforts to ease some of the goal scoring pressure on Holt and Chris Martin.

Former Norwich loan striker Kevin Lisbie is another proven lower league striker facing an uncertain New Year future.

Lisbie is due to return to his parent club Ipswich next week after firing Colchester into the League One title picture with 10 goals during an extended loan spell.

Us' boss Aidy Boothroyd admits Colchester look set to be priced out of a permanent move, with Ipswich boss Roy Keane confirming Lisbie is attracting interest from a number of clubs.

“It's up to Roy Keane and Ipswich what they do with him,” said Boothroyd. “But we'll monitor the situation. I don't think we can afford the fee they are asking or the wages Championship clubs can afford. But we may be able to come up with something at the end of January.”

Lambert worked with Lisbie at Colchester this season - the 31-year-old striking a brace in United's 7-1 Carrow Road opening day rout.

The Scot is also on the look out for central defensive reinforcements but reported Brighton target Adam Virgo has ruled out a south coast switch.

Virgo played down speculation he was set for a New Year move away from his hometown club after throwing his shirt into the crowd following Albion's emphatic 5-2 Boxing Day win at City's next opponents Wycombe.

“The whole thing has been blown out of context massively,” said the 26-year-old. “Someone asked me for the shirt, I saw him and gave it to him. I want to stay here and play for the club I have grown up supporting.”

Virgo began his career at Brighton before returning to the Seagulls after spells at Celtic, Coventry and Colchester but the versatile defender has failed to command a regular starting spot under new boss Gus Poyet.

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