Earnshaw on Pardew's shopping list?

CHRIS LAKEY Canaries boss Peter Grant could be facing a bid from his former boss for star striker Robert Earnshaw.


Canaries boss Peter Grant could be facing a bid from his former boss for star striker Robert Earnshaw.

The Welsh striker is reportedly attracting the attentions of Charlton Athletic, relegated from the Premiership last season under the stewardship of Alan Pardew, for whom Grant worked during his time at West Ham.

While Grant has been told he doesn't have to sell players to finance his summer rebuilding plans, he may find the approach from Charlton a tough one to resist.

The Londoners have £10m in parachute money available after their Premiership demise, but, more importantly, are likely to have a windfall of more than £15m available to them any day now as striker Darren Bent finally leaves The Valley behind.

Former Ipswich striker Bent is reportedly close to agreeing a deal to take him to Tottenham - and Pardew will need a ready-made replacement.

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That man, according to newspaper reports yesterday, is Earnshaw, who, despite a four-month injury absence, hit 19 goals in 28 Championship starts last season for the Canaries.

While Grant is not forced to sell, City might find a realistic bid too hard to turn down for a player who has never hidden his ambition to return to the top flight.

Pardew is unlikely to be the only manager looking at Earnshaw: Derby County - flush with success and the pot of gold that promotion to the Premiership brought with it - have been linked with the Welshman in recent weeks, while Adie Boothroyd at relegated Watford is said to be interested.

The situation with Billy Sharp took another turn yesterday when Sheffield Wednesday re-entered the fray, confirming that they will hold talks with the Scunthorpe striker in the next 48 hours.

Sharp has already spoken to Norwich boss Peter Grant, whose £2m-plus offer appears to be to Scunthorpe's liking, while Wolves have had one offer turned down.

Sheffield United were also reported to be interested, but Wednesday boss Brian Laws turned up the pressure yesterday after Iron chairman Steve Wharton gave him permission to speak to the striker.

“We are aware of the interest from Norwich and Wolves and Sheffield United,” said former Scunthorpe manager Laws. “But he knows what I'm all about and there's going to come a time when he has to make a decision.

“It's a matter of trying to do the best deal that we possibly can. The chairman at Scunthorpe wouldn't be allowing us to talk to Billy if he wasn't happy with what we offered several weeks ago.

“We'll have talks sometime this week, but it still might not happen because Billy wants to speak to all the clubs interested. We've been given permission to speak to him and once he knows what's on offer he'll have to make his mind up.”

Laws handed lifelong Blades fan Sharp his first-team breakthrough when manager at Scunthorpe after signing him from Sheffield United in August 2005 for £100,000.

“That gives me a little bit of an edge in terms of personal reasons and the way we play, but not when we're talking finances - we just have to try and make sure what we offer is up there with the rest of them,” he added.

Wharton says he has heard nothing from Norwich since last week's preliminary talks in Norfolk, and says he has had no contact with Sheffield United.

“It's news to me,” said Wharton. “To the best of my knowledge there has been no contact with Sheffield United. And there has been no further contact with Norwich.

“I am waiting now for Billy to get back in touch with me to see what his intentions are.”

Grant also faces competition from Watford if he is to land Freddy Eastwood from Southend.

The Canaries are willing to pay £1.5m for Eastwood, who was reported to have met Watford officials at the weekend when he apparently promised to give them an answer “within seven days”.

Norwich are willing to pay £1.5m, but Watford believe their bid of £1.8m has been agreed with Southend, who have been given permission to talk to a Watford player, thought to be Moses Ashikodi.

And to add more speculation to the outcome, Norwich, and Burnley, have also been linked with Clarke Carlisle - Watford's former Blackpool defender.