Dean Ashton wants Norwich City to step up their striker search ahead of Premier League return

Dean Ashton finding the net in the Premier League for Norwich City during the 2004/05 season. Pictur

Dean Ashton finding the net in the Premier League for Norwich City during the 2004/05 season. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA - Credit: PA

Retired hitman Dean Ashton is urging Norwich City to increase their firepower before the big kick-off.

Dean Ashton in action for West Ham United. Picture: PA

Dean Ashton in action for West Ham United. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

So far the Canaries have only added midfielders Graham Dorrans, who made his loan move permanent, and free agent Youssouf Mulumbu to their ranks following promotion back to the Premier League. Yet the duo's arrival are unlikely to be the last ahead of an August 8 showdown against Crystal Palace with Alex Neil seemingly in the market for a striker.

City pulled the plug on a move for Celta Vigo frontman Joaquin Larrivey but continue to be linked with Liverpool's out-of-favour Rickie Lambert. And Ashton, signed himself from Crewe Alexandra to try and keep the Canaries in the top flight in 2005, believes additions to City's attacking options are needed.

The former England ace said: 'I do think they (Norwich) need a player, ideally a proven one, who can score goals and knows what the Premier League is about.

'Rickie Lambert has been mentioned and it's easy to see why. He scored plenty of goals for Southampton and hasn't had much of a look in at Liverpool, plus he's a different type of player to what the club have got. I'd be very surprised if we didn't see one come in.


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'Saying that, there's already plenty of quality there in players like Gary Hooper and Cameron Jerome who have scored goals in the Premier League. Maybe they haven't scored enough in terms of what Norwich will need (to stay up) though so I'd like to see another striker come in.'

Ashton found the net seven times following his January 2005 switch to Carrow Road but failed to prevent his new employers from being relegated. A move to West Ham United a year into his stay in Norfolk for £7.25million thrust the classy player back into the big time. A sting of fine displays saw him force his way into the international reckoning.

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Yet it was with the Three Lions that Ashton's promising career started to unravel. A broken ankle ahead of a friendly against Greece in 2006 blighted the keen golfer's hopes of becoming a mainstay in the national side. And it eventually forced Ashton to retire in 2009 at the age of just 26.

On Tuesday two of his former clubs will lock horns in a pre-season friendly – which will be screened live on Mustard, brought to viewers in association with Pleasurewood Hills. But while the Hammers are a far more established top-flight outfit than the Canaries, the 31-year-old is sure both will be aiming for the same simple outcome once the warm-up matches are all completed.

He said: 'Norwich and West Ham have both got very different expectations going into the season but their end goals are the same. To stay in the Premier League.

'With West Ham moving to the Olympic Stadium at the end of the season their priority has to be staying in the league. I'm sure Slaven Bilic (new Hammers boss) will want to do more than that and he will probably be given a bit more time, especially from the fans with him being a former player. But if he can't make the team gel, his position will come down to results. Fans might not stick with him if they're struggling.'

The Crewe Academy talent made his move up the ladder at the right time and feels this season can be the one that players like Bradley Johnson, Nathan Redmond and Jonny Howson really shine among English football's elite.

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