David Marshall demands transfer

Norwich City boss Peter Grant yesterday moved a step closer to snatching Celtic keeper David Marshall after the Parkhead stopper handed in a transfer request.

Norwich City boss Peter Grant has moved a step closer to snatching Celtic keeper David Marshall after the Parkhead stopper handed in a transfer request.

Grant has targeted the 22-year-old Scotland international as a permanent successor to Robert Green with reports north of the border indicating Marshall is ready to snub a new contract offer in favour of regular first team football.

Hibernian are also tracking Marshall, but the Glasgow-born keeper is desperate to link up again with his Celtic boyhood idol Grant.

Marshall's impressive Carrow Road loan spell was cut short by a season-ending ankle injury during City's FA Cup defeat at Chelsea.

Grant's search for a new number one tops his summer recruitment drive after he was forced to use a quintet of keepers during his first Championship campaign.

A Celtic spokeswoman refused to comment on the fresh media speculation, but Marshall is now believed to have slipped further down the Parkhead pecking order behind Polish number one Artur Boruc.

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Marshall has become frustrated at his lack of first team opportunities at the Scottish champions after just 35 outings since making his breakthrough in 2002.

Bhoys' boss Gordon Strachan recruited Mark Brown from Inverness Caledonian Thistle during the January transfer window while academy prospect Michael McGovern was on the bench for Celtic's Scottish Cup final win over Dunfermline.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has also scotched talk of a big money Premiership move for their highly rated Pole.

Boruc had been strongly linked with Arsenal and Aston Villa, but Lawwell insisted the former Legia Warsaw man, along with Shunsuke Nakamura, are part of the future.

“We've seen all the speculation about Artur and Naka,” he said, “They're under contract here. Boruc has a contract to 2010, because in 2009 we have an option for another year and they're both very happy at the club. They are key players for Gordon and we have no intention of selling them.

“Because we have been successful financially as well as on the field of play, we can resist even big offers. We know where we are and where we want to go and Gordon is under no pressure to lose any players.”

Marshall's agent, Willie McKay, revealed recently the fit again keeper would relish a Carrow Road return. The Celtic youth product was restricted to only five appearances earlier this season following his debut in the FA Cup draw at Blackpool.

Grant has also been linked with free agents Neil Alexander and Danny Coyne to fill his problem position while Fulham keeper Tony Warner had not ruled out a Craven Cottage switch after a successful long term loan last season following Marshall's return north.