County can't afford Thorne

CHRIS LAKEY Notts County boss Gudjon Thordarson says he won't be teaming up again with Norwich City striker Peter Thorne. Thorne played under the Icelander during his time at Stoke City, but won't be taking him to the County Ground this summer.

CHRIS LAKEY

Notts County boss Gudjon Thordarson says he won't be teaming up again with Norwich City striker Peter Thorne.

Thorne played under the Icelander during his time at Stoke City, but won't be taking him to the County Ground this summer.

Thorne is out of favour at Carrow Road and, at 33, would be allowed to move on, but while Thordarson admits he holds Thorne in high regard he says he has not spoken to the player.


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“Peter is a smashing lad, I know him well from our Stoke days, but I haven't spoken to him about joining us,” he said.

“I would think he would be a little out of our price range anyway.

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“I know what he is capable of after working with him at Stoke, but I haven't spoken to the boy about him coming to the club.”

The early close-season rumour mill is slowly beginning to move into action, with Bristol City skipper Steve Brooker yesterday becoming the latest player to be linked with a summer switch to the Canaries.

Brooker is keen to try his hand at a higher level and a west country newspaper suggested that the Canaries are monitoring his situation.

The 25-year-old striker scored 16 goals last season, helping City to within a whisker of the League One play-offs - but it is that failure to go up which will have interested clubs keen to know Brooker's ambitions.

Robins boss Gary Johnson is keen to keep Brooker at Ashton Gate - the club are preparing a contract extension offer and have brought in another proven marksman in the shape of Yeovil Town's Phil Jevons.

Chairman Steve Lansdown confirmed his and manager Gary Johnson's desire to prolong Brooker's stay.

“We are looking to make his contract a bit longer,” said Lansdown. “We are trying to build a squad that will take us forward.

“We have been talking about getting to the Championship but that is one thing and staying there is another.

“Steve has done well for us as a striker and a captain. He has two years left on his contract so there is no rush but we are always looking forward.”

Meanwhile, the Daily Star yesterday reported that newly-promoted Watford are battling it out with Portsmouth for the signature of Wigan's former Norwich midfielder Damien Francis, although Cardiff have had their eyes on the 27-year-old.

Francis was also reported to have been the makeweight in Wigan's bid for Andrew Johnson, with Crystal Palace also receiving £7m.

The South Wales Echo claimed Cardiff have been closely following Swiss central defender Stephane Henchoz and Francis, who played for Wimbledon when Sam Hammam was chairman.

Hammam, who watched the pair at Wigan's JJB Stadium, has apparently talked to manager Paul Jewell about the two players although it appears the Bluebirds are unlikely to have the cash available to sign either of them.

Jamaican international Francis has another 12 months remaining on his Wigan contract, but they are prepared to sell at £1.5million.

Should Francis move on, Norwich are unlikely to benefit financially: a clause in the transfer deal gives them 25pc of any profit, but, with the whole deal expected to have cost the Latics £2m, it's unlikely there will be any. Wigan have already shelled out £250,000 to Norwich on a sell-on clause after surviving in their first year in the top flight.

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