Alex Neil praises Henri Lansbury but distances Norwich City from a move for Nottingham Forest star

Henri Lansbury celebrates scoring the first of Norwich City's equalisers in a 2-2 draw at Leeds in F

Henri Lansbury celebrates scoring the first of Norwich City's equalisers in a 2-2 draw at Leeds in February 2011. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Focus Images

Norwich City manager Alex Neil has admitted Nottingham Forest midfielder Henri Lansbury is a player he admires but suggested a deal is not in the offing.

Lansbury was hugely popular with Canaries fans during a successful loan spell from Arsenal during the 2010/11 season, playing an important part in Paul Lambert's side winning promotion to the Premier League.

The 26-year-old spent the following season back on loan in the Championship with West Ham, helping the Hammers win promotion via the play-offs, before joining Forest for around £1million in the summer of 2012.

He has gone on to score 33 goals in 150 games but is out of contract in the summer and has been linked with a host of clubs already this month, including Aston Villa, Derby and Watford.

The Sun claim Norwich have now joined the race for Lansbury's signature, potentially giving him a chance to add to the 22 appearances and four goals he already has on his Canaries record.

Neil was not willing to commit either way when asked about the link at his latest press conference this afternoon, he said: 'It's not anything I can talk about. He's a good player but, well if I've got them fit, I've got a lot of midfield players.

'We want to try and attract the best midfield players that we can and if he's a really good player and a deal can be done then we can look at it.

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'But to be honest he is one of many players that we would naturally look at.'

Neil is in the midst of a potential midfield crisis, with Graham Dorrans out for a couple of months with a knee injury and Youssouf Mulumbu away for the rest of January at the African Cup of Nations with DR Congo.

Added to that is Jonny Howson coming off in Saturday's loss at Rotherham with a calf problem, Louis Thompson on his way back from three months out with a pelvis problem and Alex Tettey beinn one yellow card away from a two-match ban – and the midfield cupboard is looking rather bare.

However, Lansbury is another player – like Tettey – already on nine bookings ahead of the Sunday, March 12 amnesty.

The former England Under-21 international has become an influential player for Forest, scoring six goals in 17 league games, but with the club's recent takeover falling through finances are an increasing worry at the City Ground.