'City in race for Colchester midfielder'

CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City have reportedly joined a host of clubs wanting to sign Colchester midfielder Neil Danns.


Norwich City have reportedly joined a host of clubs wanting to sign Colchester midfielder Neil Danns.

The 23-year-old played a major part in Colchester's promotion to the Championship but has turned down a new deal at Layer Road.

His availability has alerted a number of Championship clubs with City, Birmingham, Coventry, Ipswich, Sunderland and Cardiff all said to be keen.

Danns is hot property and out of contract, allowing him to speak to interested parties, although because of his age Colchester would be entitled to compensation.

“He will be leaving Colchester, that we can confirm,” his representative Tony Finnigan said.

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“The player has had a wonderful time there. When he left Blackburn and Phil Parkinson rang me we knew that was the place to go as he would become a better player, and that is exactly what has happened.”

Finnigan - the agent in Damien Francis' controversial exit from Carrow Road a year ago - confirmed that he was involved in talks with a number of clubs.

“There is a great deal of interest - as you would expect for a midfielder who scored 16 goals last season,” he said.

“Yes there is a great deal of interest and talks have taken place with interested parties. We hope to have something settled for Neil in the coming week or so.”

Danns began his career at Blackburn and after spells on loan at Blackpool and Hartlepool he joined Colchester on a permanent deal just before Christmas, 2004, having spent two months on a temporary stint at Layer Road. He went on to score 16 goals in 60 league starts.

Danns is described as bustling midfielder with bags of energy - and an eye for goal.

Colchester boss Phil Parkinson is resigned to losing Danns, but says he has that scenario covered.

“We have made every attempt to keep Neil here and will obviously be disappointed to lose him, both as a player and a character around the place,” he said. “I will be the first to shake his hand should he leave - he has been fantastic in the time he has been here, but this move could also work in our favour, with me being able to bring in other players as a result.

“I have been making contingency plans for this happening and I am already in talks with players that could replace Neil for next season.”