Lita unlikely to return to Norwich

David Cuffley Norwich City boss Glenn Roeder today admitted his chances of re-signing striker Leroy Lita in the January transfer window were fading. He revealed that the Canaries had made Reading a 'financial offer' to keep Lita on loan for the rest of the season, but the Royals were not interested.

David Cuffley

Norwich City boss Glenn Roeder today admitted his chances of re-signing striker Leroy Lita in the January transfer window were fading.

He revealed that the Canaries had made Reading a “financial offer” to keep Lita on loan for the rest of the season, but the Royals were not interested.

Lita is in Reading's squad for tomorrow's FA Cup tie at Cardiff and although that in itself does not preclude City from trying to sign him, Roeder expects manager Steve Coppell to keep the former England Under-21 international.


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He said: “My personal feeling is they will keep him. We've done what we can to get him here, to retain him to the end of the season.

“First of all the player wants to keep his options open - that's what he's told me. He won't sign for anybody in January. He wanted to stay here to the end of the season but it's within Reading's rights to call him back.

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“If he was to stay here for half a season on loan, he could't be called back. So if they don't keep him they would prefer to loan him to somebody else, where after 28 days they can get him back, like they could on an emergency loan with us.

“But we have made them a financial offer to retain his services to the end of the season and that at the moment is of no interest to them. It's a really good offer as well, it's not pennies.”

Lita scored seven times in 16 games for City after arriving at the start of October.

Said Roeder: “When everyone is fit at Reading, he hasn't figured and that's why he came here. I guess he won't figure again in the second half, but if he stays at least Steve knows he has got a striker that is match fit now, scoring goals, and if he needs him in the second half of the season he can pop him back in.

“I know of a couple of Championship clubs that want to buy him but I'm not sure Reading would want to sell to one of the main teams in opposition for automatic promotion. Leroy has said to me he wants to keep his options open to the end of the season. He's gone this far now, he might as well see out another four and a half months and see what's out there in the summer.

“He did exceptionally well here, he's the type of striker we need. They're few and far between out there, even to buy, let alone loan.

“He got to know us, we got to know him, we would dearly have liked to have kept him.

“But there's a month to go. They might decide in a few weeks' time to allow him back out on loan. But in one respect we're not in the strongest position because we can't give him back any more. That 28-day rule would favour Reading to loan him out to somebody else if they decide to loan him out. I wouldn't be surprised if they keep him. If I was Steve Coppell, I'd keep him.”

Despite his lack of strikers - with Omar Koroma sidelined for up to three months after an ankle operation - Roeder ruled out recalling Jamie Cureton early from his three-month loan at Barnsley, where he has scored in the last two games.

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