Worthy firm on Ashton stay
By Simon Fudge. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Norwich City manager Nigel Worthington has reiterated that striker Dean Ashton is not for sale, despite closing in on Birmingham City hit-man Clinton Morrison.
The Carrow Road boss stated that The Canaries have received enquiries for the former Crewe Alexandra man but no official bids at this stage.
Wigan Athletic have been linked with a move for Ashton while Tottenham Hotspur boss Martin Jol has already ruled out making a fresh move for the goalscorer.
Speculation regarding the 22-year-old's future mounted after Norwich agreed a £2 million fee with Birmingham City for Morrison on Thursday but Worthington intends to keep his £3 million signing in his squad.
"Dean Ashton is on a long-term contract and has only been at Norwich six months," Worthington said.
"He is a young man, has a lot more to learn and is doing very nicely at the football club.
"Clinton Morrison, if we can get him, is coming in to add to this squad and make competition for the other players, along with Dean Ashton.
"There have been phone calls, and when you have got good players at the football club, you are going to get phone calls.
"But the chief executive, the board and myself have been very consistent - the player is not for sale."
Despite his adamant stance over Ashton, Worthington admitted that every player has his price and Norwich would entertain selling him if they received a suitable offer for the striker.
"We would accept £24.4 million," joked the Norwich boss after referring to the fee Chelsea paid French side Lyon for Michael Essien.
"On a serious note, of course, there is a level for every player and if my chief executive got an offer which was right for Norwich City, I am sure he would give me a call and I would speak to the player - but I have not had any calls or anything from my chief executive to suggest that, or anything near it.
"I just want the player to be focused. He has had a rough week from the point of view of a lot of people ringing him up over the situation.
"He has had enough of it. He has come out and said he is very happy at Norwich and he wants to try to help Norwich gain promotion this season."
Worthington's move to sign Republic of Ireland international Morrison, meanwhile, looks set to take some time before completion.
"We have agreed a fee with Birmingham, which is the first hurdle over, and are in discussions with the player," he added to Sky Sports News.
"They are ticking along nicely, but are a long way from being complete.
"If we can get him in, he would be a great asset to us, if we can't we will have to move on elsewhere.
"We are going to be patient, have put an offer to the player and they are considering it, and hopefully we will hear from him in due course."