Stokes sparks City's interest

PUBLISHED: 10:37 26 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:43 10 September 2010

Sunderland's Anthony Stokes has the physical presence that City are looking for.

Sunderland's Anthony Stokes has the physical presence that City are looking for.

Michael Bailey

Norwich City are poised to join a growing list of clubs interested in taking Sunderland promising youngster Anthony Stokes on loan. The 20-year-old Republic of Ireland international has been short of opportunities since joining Sunderland from Arsenal for £2m at the start of 2007, scoring three goals in 15 league starts.

Norwich City are poised to join a growing list of clubs interested in taking Sunderland promising youngster Anthony Stokes on loan.

The 20-year-old Republic of Ireland international has been short of opportunities since joining Sunderland from Arsenal for £2m at the start of 2007, scoring three goals in 15 league starts.

Having brought in Djibril Cisse and David Healy this summer to bolster the Black Cats' attacking options, manager Roy Keane admitted the Dubliner would be allowed out of loan to get some first team games.

That has already drawn the attention of Norwich's Championship rivals Sheffield Wednesday, as well as League One side Leeds United, who are both said to be chasing Stokes.

“Anthony would benefit from going out and getting 20 games,” Keane said at the weekend, following Sunderland's 1-0 Premier League victory at Tottenham Hotspur. “He's good enough to go and play in the Championship.”

Although Roeder has reiterated his desire for the permanent signing of an experienced target man, the City boss has also admitted he is still looking out for a couple of loan options and Stokes would appear to fit the latter, while at an inch under six foot, he could also offer an aerial presence up front for the Canaries, whose current strike options are short of height.

Stokes, who made his reserve debut for the Gunners at the tender age of 15, would have at least one familiar face waiting for him at Carrow Road in the shape of Italian striker Arturo Lupoli who was with the Irishman as a youngster in north London.

Coincidentally, Lupoli was the player Stokes replaced as an 88th minute substitute to make his full Arsenal debut, against Sunderland in the League Cup in 2005.

But it was Stokes' loan move to Scottish Premier League side Falkirk that brought him to the attention of a clutch of clubs, after he scored 14 goals in 16 appearances and proved enough to convince Keane to shell out the hefty transfer fee.

Meanwhile, the Canaries' Championship rivals are also circling around one of Roeder's other reported striker targets across the capital.

Tottenham Hotspurs' 19-year old Czech Republic under-21 international Tomas Pekhart is believed to be on Roeder's wish list, once a permanent experienced strike fixture has been found for his first team squad.

But the City boss may have a fight on his hands here as well, with Plymouth and Southampton said to be favourites to land the highly rated front man.

Although Pekhart is yet to make a first-team appearance for the White Hart Lane side, he has been a prolific scorer at academy and reserve level, and was linked with a move to Norwich 10 days ago.

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