Grant faces battle for Boro back

CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant could find himself in another head-to-head battle with Hull's Phil Brown as he tries to plug the gaps in his ailing squad.

CHRIS LAKEY

Peter Grant could find himself in another head-to-head battle with Hull's Phil Brown as he tries to plug the gaps in his ailing squad.

The Norwich boss yesterday confirmed his interest in Middlesbrough defender Andrew Davies - but admits he faces competition for the 22-year-old's signature.

"Andrew is a player I think has great potential," said Grant, whose problems have struck again with the news that defenders Ian Murray and Adam Drury and striker Jamie Cureton have joined join centre-half Gary Doherty on the injury list.

"He has a lot of experience - he has played in the Championship, played with Middlesbrough in the Premier League, knows the league, and obviously if he is available I would be interested. I have inquired about him, that's for sure, but like all good players a lot of people inquire about them. We have been in there and spoken to them about his availability, but we have been doing that for weeks.

"Middlesbrough have had injuries and he was playing in the team so there was no-go on that. That's where it is - we have had no call back to say there is anything different. We will see how things progress - if Andrew is interested to come here we would like him to come in, if Middlesbrough let it happen."

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Hull boss Brown - who saw Grant snatch striker Jamie Cureton from under his nose in the summer - has also spoken to Boro about Davies, who had a loan spell at Derby when he was manager. But it would appear both men will have to be patient in the knowledge that a third Championship club, Southampton are also showing an interest.

"We've spoken at length with Keith Lamb (Boro's chief executive) and Gareth Southgate, and we're awaiting a response," Brown said. "We've done our business to the best of our ability and we're just awaiting an answer."

Davies - who would command a fee of around £1m come the January transfer window - scored both goals for Derby in a 2-0 victory over Norwich in December, 2005. He has made six appearances for Boro this season.

Grant is keen to bring him to Carrow Road to help bolster a defence which looks set for another change for the trip to QPR - another of Davies' fromer loan clubs - on Monday, with Doherty ruled out for at least three weeks.

Grant has also been in contact with Manchester United about bringing in one of their young players - after failing to persuade defender Ryan Shawcross to leave Old Trafford for a short stay earlier this season - but has been out of luck.

"As soon as they went out of the Carling Cup everybody is one the phone - but we had been on the phone months prior and they gave us the courtesy of phoning us back to say nobody would be allowed out on loan," said Grant.

"They get knocked out of the cup and you see Sir Alex on the television saying boys will go out no loan now - but the ones you want they won't let them out because they need them round their group because of international commitments."