City have eyes on Fergie babe Ryan

CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City may turn to Sir Alex Ferguson for help in adding to their central defensive options.


Norwich City may turn to Sir Alex Ferguson for help in adding to their central defensive options.

Canaries boss Peter Grant has admitted he would like to bring in a defender and, while West Ham's Calum Davenport is believed to be high on his shopping list, City are also rumoured to be interested in Manchester United youngster Ryan Shawcross.

The 19-year-old has already been loaned out to United's feeder club in Belgium, Royal Antwerp, and the Premiership champions may be willing to allow him to further his footballing education away from Old Trafford again.

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City liaison Bryan Gunn had hoped his close relationship with United's legendary manager - his former boss at Aberdeen - would one day come in useful, and it could be put to the test here.

Picking up young United players on short-term deals worked well for two of the Championship's promoted clubs last season. Roy Keane's Sunderland took central defender Jonny Evans, who played 18 games after moving to the Stadium of Light in January, and Danny Simpson, both of whom played major roles in the Black Cats' title-winning campaign.

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Play-off winners Derby had David Jones in their midfield - a deal they made permanent in January.

Shawcross played for United in their pre-season friendly at Peterborough at the weekend and while he has just two subs appearances for the first team on his CV - both in the Carling Cup last autumn - he has worked his way up through the ranks to become a reserves team regular.

While the teenager is clearly less experienced than Davenport, money and ambition may be major issues: Davenport is a £3m who, although facing stiff competition at Upton Park this summer, is likely to harbour hopes of Premiership football this season.

Grant has done little to deny his interest in Davenport, who was on loan at Carrow Road early in the 2005-06 campaign, as he seeks to bring in reinforcements for an area of the squad which lacks cover. Gary Doherty and skipper Jason Shackell are the first choices, with Dion Dublin providing cover, but Grant has little else to call on in the way of specialist cover.

“People like Calum are very, very good players,” he said last week. “There's a hell of a lot of good players out there. He's been here before, that's probably why people have been linking him with us and West Ham have got five other central defenders, but we're always looking for good players and he definitely comes into that bracket.”

Former Canaries defender Danny Mills, a right back who can also play in the middle, is also available after being told yesterday he could leave Manchester City, although it is believed the 30-year-old is reluctant to move away from his home in Yorkshire.

“It has all happened suddenly but we are aware that a n umber of clubs are interested in Danny,” said Mills' representative Neil Featherby. “Obviously if Norwich showed an interest then we would talk to them as it is Danny's home town club. But at the moment we will bide our time and consider all our options as they become available.”

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