Striker McKenzie wants out, too

Norwich's out-of-favour hitman Leon McKenzie has stunned the club by handing in a transfer request.

Norwich's out-of-favour hitman Leon McKenzie yesterday stunned the club by handing in a transfer request.

Canaries' boss Nigel Worthington rejected the 28-year-old's plea out of hand and reassured the popular striker he remains a crucial element of his promotion battleplan.

“Leon is an important part of the football club,” he said. “He is highly thought of by myself and the staff and the supporters and is a very important member of our small squad. As far as I'm concerned he is not for sale and will remain at Norwich City.”

Worthington's reluctance to release McKenzie is understandable after a summer spent hunting for attacking reinforcements. The Norwich manager was strongly linked with MK Dons pacy striker Izale McLeod while the drawn out pursuit of Luton Town's Steve Howard ended with the former Hatter joining Derby.

The City boss has also drawn blanks over Geoff Horsfield and long-time target Rob Hulse - both now at Leeds.

McKenzie is believed to have become increasingly frustrated at his lack of first-team opportunities. The London-born frontman has been restricted to a trio of second-half cameo appearances from the bench during the opening week of the Championship campaign - the latest of which was an 89th-minute substitution for Robert Earnshaw during City's thrilling 3-2 victory over Luton on Saturday.

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The big money arrivals of Earnshaw and Lee Croft, coupled with a subtle change of formation, have relegated McKenzie to a virtual spectator in Norwich's recent back-to-back home wins.

The striker replaced Croft for the last 35 minutes of the opening day defeat at Leeds after an encouraging pre-season capped by a goal in the win against Cambridge United.

A prolific scorer at Peterborough, McKenzie became an instant cult hero when he struck a winning brace against arch rivals Ipswich on his debut in December 2003.

The £325,000 arrival scored nine times in his first season at Carrow Road to help fire the Canaries to Championship promotion.

He formed a potent partnership with new England man Dean Ashton which sparked Norwich's desperate but unsuccessful late push for Premiership survival - notably breaking the deadlock in a memorable Easter win against Manchester United.

McKenzie missed nearly four months of Norwich's poor Championship campaign last season with a serious ankle problem.

The striker was restricted to just 20 appearances, notching four goals - with personal problems adding to a miserable season for the industrious frontman.