McKenzie’s in line for surprise recall
JONATHAN REDHEAD Norwich City's want-away striker Leon McKenzie has returned to training and is a surprise inclusion in the team for the Carling Cup tie at Torquay. The front man has claimed he was not wanted for training at Colney last Friday and missed Saturday's trip to Derby after City boss Nigel Worthington said the former Peterborough United forward's “mind wasn't right”.
Norwich City's want-away striker Leon McKenzie has returned to training and is a surprise inclusion in the team for the Carling Cup tie at Torquay.
The front man has claimed he was not wanted for training at Colney last Friday and missed Saturday's trip to Derby after City boss Nigel Worthington said the former Peterborough United forward's “mind wasn't right”.
Many feared the 28-year-old's days in Norfolk were numbered after Worthington said McKenzie's decision was “hugely disappointing”, while former Canary winger and Evening News columnist Neil Adams said he felt the striker had played his last game for the club.
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Worthington said: “There have been no developments since last Friday and as far as I am concerned that's the end of the story.”
McKenzie will now make the long trip to the English Rivera while transfer speculation continues to link him with a move to Championship rivals Coventry City, and now Sunderland too.
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With City in the middle of three games in seven days, and Peter Thorne currently nursing a hamstring injury, McKenzie could be offered a route back to first team football, although it is likely he will be on the bench for the cup clash at Plainmoor.
“Leon trained with us and trained very well,” Worthington said.
“As far as I am concerned he is in contention for the league cup tie at Torquay.”
The Canaries have confirmed two bids for McKenzie's services have been flatly refused, with the second thought to be close to £1m, although chief executive Neil Doncaster said the Sky Blues have not come back with a third offer.
Coventry's manager Micky Adams offered “no comment” on the speculation ahead of his side's Carling Cup clash at Hereford.
However, sources close to the club believe McKenzie is one of many strikers targeted by Adams, who has up to £4m to spend following the sale of star forward Gary McSheffery to Birmingham City.
Names put forward include Ipswich Town's Sam Parkin, Kevin Kyle of Sheffield United and Maltese striker Michael Mifsud who plays his football in Norway for Lillestrom.
Other stories have linked Sheffield United's Ade Akinbiyi, a former Canaries forward, with a £1m move to the Midlands but the source said that was likely to be wide of the mark.
“He's after a smaller, quicker striker, like McKenzie to go with (Dele) Adebola and (Stern) John,” the source said. And he added that Adams may also look to keep his transfer kitty until January, and make do with loan signings until then.
Meanwhile, reports in the North East claim Sunderland's chairman/manager Niall Quinn is lining up a bid for McKenzie after his goal-shy side lost their first four games back in the Championship.
Quinn promised a clear out of the Black Cats players after the latest reverse at Southend on Saturday, although Kevin Phillips looks a certainty to join the club after being given permission to discuss a move back to the Stadium of Light by new Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill.