Transfer talk won't hinder City plans

Nigel Worthington has declined to comment on a fresh bout of national newspaper speculation linking top scorer Dean Ashton with a multi-million move to West Ham.

Norwich City manager Nigel Worthington has declined to comment on a fresh bout of national newspaper speculation linking top scorer Dean Ashton with a multi-million move to West Ham.

According to yesterday's Daily Mirror Hammers boss Alan Pardew is willing to smash the club's transfer record to get his man, after being quoted a price of £8m by the Canaries.

But Worthington insisted there was nothing new to report, and was once again more interested in talking about bringing players in rather than letting them go when quizzed about the transfer latest at his weekly press conference.

“There is nothing else to say on the subject,” he said. “We want to focus on Saturday's game rather than any speculation that might be out there.

“A whole lot of things have got to come into the equation before decisions are made one way or another and as long as we are right at our end then that's the most important thing.

“There is nothing to report on Robert Green either. We have never heard anything on that one up to now.”

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As for how Ashton is coping with all the media attention, the City boss added: “Dean has been fine - he has just been getting on with his work.

“There has been a lot of speculation in the press and I'm sure there is something in his head about the situation. But at the end of the day I'm sure he wouldn't want to look at that, or any other excuse, for not performing.”

As far as Norwich are concerned, the only activity of the transfer window so far has seen Carl Robinson complete a £50,000 switch to Carrow Road in a move financed by loan from the club's majority shareholders Michael Wynn Jones and Delia Smith and fellow director Michael Foulger - and Worthington revealed there was still some cash in the kitty for him to invest in his squad.

“There is money to spend. Michael, Delia and Michael Foulger have very kindly put some money in the pot which is available for transfers.

“Nothing will be happening pre-weekend, but we will try and do something. Having said that, just because there is some money to spend you don't just spend it for the sake of it. It has got to be right for the squad, right for the club - and the value has got to be right.”

The speculation linking Ashton with a move to London increased yesterday when Pardew was quoted as saying: "I want to take this team forward and to do that I have to bring in new personnel. The squad I've got I'm very, very happy with and they're doing a great job, but I think they need to see progress as well - it gives everyone a lift.

"We have done well but we have to do better and start challenging, which we cannot do until we bring in one or two extra bodies.

"Whether he comes from the fourth division or Serie A, he needs to be a player who can push the players I have got.

"I think the amount of pressure we create and the amount of crosses that come into our box, I'd like to have one in my pool who is more of a threat at crosses.”