City face battle to hang on to Forster

Paddy Davitt Norwich City could be braced for a close season battle with Leeds United over Fraser Forster. The Elland Road outfit were yesterday linked with a loan move for the Newcastle prodigy after releasing Danish number one Casper Ankergren.

Paddy Davitt

Norwich City could be braced for a close season battle with Leeds United over Fraser Forster.

The Elland Road club has been linked with a loan move for the Newcastle prodigy after releasing Danish number one Casper Ankergren - as well as speculation United are courting a move for out of contract City midfielder Darel Russell.

Forster and Arsenal's Polish youngster Wojciech Szczesny are reportedly on Leeds' chief Simon Grayson's summer shopping list as the Yorkshire giants aim to refresh their squad to launch a Championship promotion push.


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Arsenal teenager Szczesny made 28 appearances for Brentford during an extended League One loan stint this season - including a man of the match display in a goalless draw against Grayson's side back in December.

City's players' player of the season has already publicly stated he would welcome a Carrow Road return but the final decision rests with Newcastle boss Chris Hughton.

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The 22-year-old established himself as a firm fans' favourite after a near faultless role in the club's League One title success.

City's supporters pleaded with Forster to extend his Norfolk stay during the closing weeks of the season following a campaign which saw him finish one clean sheet shy of equalling Kevin Keelan's club record set in 1975.

Paul Lambert hailed Forster as a world-class goalkeeper in the making on the back of a pivotal role in City's title push and the Hexham-born shot stopper is unlikely to be short of offers during the close season.

Coincidentally, the low point of Forster's spell with City came at Elland Road in October, when his injury time miskick handed Leeds a 2-1 victory. But Forster improved greatly as the season wore on and is tipped to be loaned out again next season, with Newcastle's Dutch Under-21 keeper Tim Krul the established understudy to first choice Steve Harper during United's Championship procession.

Harper admitted Hughton is spoilt for goalkeeping choices but insists he is determined to be number one at St James' for the foreseeable future.

“Fraser and Tim are very similar to me and Shay (Given), only at an earlier stage,” he said.

“There could be a battle on there for years to come at this club, and if it pushes them on to great things, then so be it. I've waited a long time for this, so I'm going to work my socks off to make the most of it. I've waited a long time for this opportunity, so I am going to work my socks off to make the most of it.

“There are two very good young goalkeepers right behind me keeping me on my toes.

“There are a lot of things I'm working hard on with Paul Barron, and the two young lads, Tim and Fraser, who are improving every day. They're really improving, and have a big chance for the future.”

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