Mackail-Smith keen on Premier League move
Norwich City's long-time target Craig Mackail-Smith's desire to play Premier League football next season looks set to trigger one of the hottest summer transfer auctions.
The Scotland international believes he has played his last game for Peterborough after a 35th goal of the campaign helped fire Posh back into the Championship in Sunday's League One play-off final success.
City were unable to thrash out a deal for the frontman in March after holding talks with United director of football Barry Fry. Canaries' chief executive David McNally accused Posh of 'moving the goalposts' at the time, but Norwich will face stiff competition from a host of Premier League rivals if Paul Lambert revives his interest.
Fellow promoted side QPR along with Wigan and Everton – plus relegated duo West Ham and Birmingham – have all been linked with a close season move in recent days for the �4m rated striker. Posh boss Darren Ferguson conceded in the wake of his side's 3-0 play-off final win over Huddersfield he expects Mackail-Smith to leave. The 27-year-old has also reiterated his future lies away from London Road.
'We'll see what the summer brings,' he said. 'I'd love to be in the Premier League next season, that would be a dream come true. I think the club have done what's best for them. I've always said that until a bid comes in that is right for them, I won't make a fuss and I'll get on with my job.'
The former Dagenham striker ranked his third and latest Football League promotion with Peterborough as his best yet.
'If this turns out to be my last game in a Peterborough shirt, I couldn't have asked for any better way for it to end,' he said. 'To go up in front of so many brilliant fans and in such a stunning arena was something special. The fans took to me from day one and have helped make it such a brilliant few years for me at Peterborough.
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'It has been a really special time and any footballer would be proud to have been a part of three promotions. This has to be the most enjoyable of the three and it was great to get my name on the scoresheet. George Boyd did ever so well to get the ball to me and although my shot took a deflection, it ended up where I wanted it to. I honestly can't say what is going to happen for me during the summer. I'm going to enjoy this promotion first and then we'll see what follows.'
The bustling striker spurned two early chances to break the deadlock at Old Trafford before pouncing in the final 15 minutes to help clinch a 3-0 win. 'You can't afford to worry about missing a couple of chances. It happens in football and you just have to believe another chance will come,' he said. 'Luckily enough I got another chance towards the end was able to put that one away. The team worked so hard for this promotion. We've been excellent all season and we really had to battle it out against Huddersfield.
'We had our backs to the wall for a lot of the second half, but we came through. As soon as we got in front I knew we would go on to win the game.'
Posh boss Ferguson confirmed at the weekend he will not stand in the way of Mackail-Smith's top flight ambition.
'You would have to say the odds are stacked with him probably leaving,' he said. 'We would have to get the right money for him but everyone would wish him all the best. He's earned the chance to go and play at a higher level. We need other players and we have to try and establish ourselves in the Championship now.'