The January transfer window took an unexpected twist this morning after Morecombe boss Sammy McIlroy revealed that Peterborough had lodged a ?400,000 bid for 20-year-old keeper Joe Lewis.
Speaking to the local Citizen newspaper, McIlroy admitted that Peterborough's reported interest had knocked the Lancashire club firmly out of the running to secure the England Under-21 keeper's signature on a full-time basis after making such a big impression on his loan spell at Christie Park.
“I spoke to the lad last night and he told me he was thinking about it – and you can't blame him,” said McIlroy.
“I knew Peterborough were interested in him and we did put a bid in for him. But we can't compete with ?400,000. I am surprised with the move though.”
As will most Canary fans – should the 6ft 5in England Under-21 stopper decide that a switch to London Road is in his best interest at this stage in his career.
The Peterborough Evening Telegraph reported that the two clubs “were understood to have agreed a fee with the as yet unnamed player's club leaving personal terms to be discussed today”.
Director of Football Barry Fry revealed on local television this week that he expected Posh to break the club transfer record during the January transfer window.
And while Canary boss Glenn Roeder was adament after the New Year's Day draw at Selhurst Park that he would not be letting Lewis out of his sight again now that his loan spell was over, the fact remains that once Matty Gilks returns to full fitness he will find it difficult to offer Lewis regular, competitive football.
And that having made his first appearance in the England Under-21 set-up via his performances for Morecombe, the Brome-born youngster may have got a taste for the limelight that regular first team football brings.
First, however, and he has to shrug of the stomach bug that ruled him out of sitting on the bench at Selhurst Park having returned from Morecombe some 36-hours earlier.
“Unbelievably, he had an illness yesterday,” said Roeder, speaking after the Palace game.
“Which was of the variety that would clear up in 48 hours, but it was the sort of bug that you wouldn't want to put him on the coach or in the hotel last night.
“But I would certainly expect him to be fit and available for the game on Saturday.”
Whether or not a shock transfer switch intervenes is the next interesting point as Roeder insisted that he was not going to let him out of sight again loan-wise. A permanent switch, however, may prove another matter.
“He's not going out on loan again – I'd be very suprised if I am allow him out on loan.”
Any potential switch to Peterborough would be rich with irony.
Lewis actually made his final loan appearance for Morecombe against Posh in a 3-2 win that proved a fitting finale for the bright, Norfolk prospect.
Should Peterborough smash their current transfer record to win Lewis' signature and he would replace Adam Drury's best pal in that No1 jersey – Norwich-born Mark Tyler who has made the better part of 500 appearances for the London Road club over the course of a 12-year career.
Likewise should Posh boss Darren Ferguson wish to throw Lewis straight in at the deep end on Saturday in their FA Cup third round trip to East Anglian neighbours Colchester United, he has until 12 o'clock tomorrow to both sign the player and register his paperwork in time with the Football Association.
With Paul Gallacher's contract cancelled by mutual consent earlier this week as he booked his ticket out of Carrow Road with that switch to Dunfermline and the future of goalkeeping coach Jim Hollman still firmly up in the air, the Colney goalkeeping department is suddenly the centre of the transfer window attention.
Interestingly and a potential back-log of young keepers was emerging in David Marshall's shadow with Declan Rudd and the richly promising Jed Steer both having already earned England Youth honours.
Steer, in particular, is starting to attract both rave reviews and widespread attention. The Norfolk schoolboy was in goal for Ricky Martin's Under-18 Academy side in their recent clash with Millwall Under-18s and with much expected of the young man, Lewis' exit could yet hasten Steer's development – albeit even if his full emergence into the limelight remains a season or two in the distance.
In the meantime, there was little or no fresh news as to the fate of Roeder's own loan targets. He remained confident that Messrs Smith, Camara, Pattison and Evans would all be back at Colney tomorrow following their brief 48-hour break.
Leave a Reply