Worthington forced to play waiting game

CHRIS LAKEY Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell will be faced with the job of putting a valuation on the head of Norwich City target Rob Hulse when he returns to work at Elland Road today.

CHRIS LAKEY

Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell will be faced with the job of putting a valuation on the head of Norwich City target Rob Hulse when he returns to work at Elland Road today.

Blackwell has just returned from four days overseas, unaware that the Canaries have made an initial inquiry for his £1m player, with manager Nigel Worthington keen to succeed where he failed three years ago and lure the 6ft 1in front-man to Carrow Road.

Blackwell admitted he knew nothing about City's interest and added: "I can't comment on it and won't comment further until I'm back in Leeds and that's all I can tell you."

However, Leeds chief executive officer Shaun Harvey confirmed that City had made inquiries - and that Worthington's interest had been well known to them.

"We've been aware of Norwich's interest for some time," he said. "Any Championship club would be interested in a player of Rob's ability but, as ever, we will make decisions that are in the best interests of the club."

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Worthington is keen to see the 26-year-old Hulse up front alongside Rob Earnshaw, but Leeds will want a decent return on a player who, despite struggling with a hip injury, scored 14 goals last season, having cost more than £1m when he moved from West Brom - and he still has another two seasons left on his contract.

Worthington is clearly ready to improve up his attacking options, and reports on the south coast suggest he could be ready to let veteran front-man Peter Thorne move on.

Thorne moved to City from Cardiff a year ago but failed to bring his goalscoring touch with him and is likely to be off-loaded should the opportunity arise. Brighton boss Mark McGhee could be the man to take him on, having admitted he wants an experienced goalscorer to get Albion back into the Championship.

McGhee wants Neil Shipperley, a target last season, but the veteran is still wanted by promoted Sheffield United as back-up.

Thorne is among other names under consideration.