Norwich City’s Alex Neil scotches Cameron Jerome £8m Middlesbrough exit talk
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Alex Neil insists he has had no contact from Championship promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough over a proposed £8m transfer swoop for Cameron Jerome.
Neil admitted on Friday morning tabloid speculation touting the 29-year-old striker with a Teesside switch in January was news to him.
Jerome plundered 23 goals last season, and scored against Boro in the Championship play-off final, but Neil reiterated at Colney the former Birmingham forward remains a key frontline option.
'I am surprised. I haven't heard anything about that,' he said. 'Cameron is one of our strikers who has played quite a lot of games for us. He is an important part of the squad for us. That is the first I have heard of that. Off the top of my head at the moment Cameron is an important player and we are not looking to let our best players leave. That is the situation.'
Neil also clarified reports DC United keeper Bill Hamid is on his transfer radar. The US international is poised to train with the Canaries during the MLS off-season, but only due to his relationship with City goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely.
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'Bill is a friend of our goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely. He did exactly the same thing at West Brom as well,' said Neil. 'Bill comes over for a week's training just to keep things ticking over and also to give our lads a little boost to have another keeper around the place. There is no plan to sign him. No.'
Alex Tettey (thigh) has been passed fit for Saturday's Premier League trip to Watford. Matt Jarvis (knee) is a longer term absentee, but Neil reported no fresh injury concerns following the battling 1-1 draw against Arsenal last weekend.
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Lewis Grabban marked his first start in the league since the opening weekend with a comeback goal against the Gunners, but Neil was giving no clues away on his starting personnel for Vicarage Road.
'He'll be up for selection as much as anybody else. I was pleased for Lewis that he came back in, got his goal and gave us a good performance,' he said. 'Al joined in training this week. He'll be in the squad for the game. Al has been one of those who when he is available more often than not I have selected him.
'The Arsenal game will give us a bit of confidence, in terms of the performance as much as anything else. In the second half I thought we were particularly good. We struck up a good balance between attacking and defending. The second half was probably the best we have done that in recent weeks.'