Norwich City's hopes of looking to secure an extended loan deal with Manchester City youngster Ched Evans looked to be on the wane this afternoon.
Canary chief Glenn Roeder told reporters after Saturday's FA Cup clash with Bury that he was hoping to get a decision out of Sven Goran Eriksson and his No2 Tord Grip “on Tuesday afternoon”.
If only judging by Evans' interview on the official Manchetser City website this afternoon, the Welsh Under-21 striker would now look as if he was staying put – and looking forward to teaming up with the Martin Petrovs and Elanos of this world during the latter half of the season.
?I learned a lot from my loan at Norwich and I really enjoyed it, it's a big step up into men's football and it's so much faster than the reserves,” Evans told the official Manchester City website, www.mcfc.co.uk.
?You're around experienced players, everyone's happy when you win whereas in reserves it's not that important ? they are more like friendlies to gain experience. The Championship is very competitive and I really enjoyed myself,” he added.
Roeder admitted that the youngster looked tired come the end of a busy festive schedule, but remained hopeful that given the relative riches at Eriksson's disposal he would let the young man come out to play again.
Again, until there was something definite to confirm – one way or the other – Canary officials were reluctant to be drawn on Evans' decision. The 19-year-old could, in theory, find himself over-ruled by Eriksson and Grip and be sent back to Norfolk on the first train out of Picadilly Station.
The whole tone of this afternoon's piece on the club's official website, however, would suggest that Evans is not about to be boarding the bus for Barnsley this weekend; that the decision has already been made to keep him within City's Carrington training HQ.
?I didn't score in the last few games, which disappointed me because strikers get judged on goals,” said Evans, as he looked back on the first two Championship goals of his young career. Now, it appears, he just wants to add a Premiership strike to his collection.
“I just want to play week in, week out for City and score lots of goals – all I can ask for is that the goals keep coming for me,” he said, looking to perch himself on the end of the Petrov-Elano supply line.
?With players like that around, you're more likely to get more goals because they can provide them. On the other hand it is going to be harder to get into the team, but that's making me more determined as well,” he said.
In the meantime, the Canaries were finding themselves linked to a three-way scrap for the signature of Plymouth's much-admired midfielder David Norris. According to The Sun this morning, in the yellow and green corner were Norwich, in one blue corner was Leicester City – as now managed by Norris' old Pilgrims boss Ian Holloway – and in a second blue corner were Ipswich Town with manager Jim Magilton having already expressed his interest in the 26-year-old via a reported ?1 million bid.
With Norris' former employers, Bolton Wanderers, understood to be due a 50 per cent sell-on, new Home Park boss Paul Sturrock has been quoted as demanding a ?2 million fee if the West Country side are to recoup their own share of the spoils.
For those who like their conspiracy theories, Norris missed Plymouth's FA Cup success at the weekend – as did the Peterborough-bound Joe Lewis and Preston North End target Chris Brown. As, for that matter, did Martin Taylor – not even on the bench for Blues' abortive FA Cup trip to Huddersfield Town.
Sturrock was, however, rather more graphic than most in his explanation for Norris' unexpected absence.
“He has got sickness and diarrhoea. I found out this morning, about eight o'clock,” Sturrock told the Plymouth Evening Herald. “The doc (Paul Giles) went to see him and the sickness had finished but not the diarrhoea. I wasn't prepared to send him out there in white shorts!”
The right-sided midfielder will also be suspended for Argyle's trip to Burnley in the Championship this Saturday – enabling another opportunity to knock.
Certainly at the Walkers' Stadium, Holloway was dropping large hints that something was coming to the boil; down at Portman Road and Magilton has Marcus Evans' ?12 million cash injection burning a hole in his back-pocket.
Whether that ?2 million price tag proves a bit too rich for Roeder's liking will be interesting; this is, after all, a man who prides himself on never paying the asking price. He has yet to budge from the ?750,000 offer sat on Karren Brady's desk for Taylor's signature.
He also has geography on his side – Norris was born in Peterborough and made his mark with Boston United, so a switch to East Anglia would be a return to his roots.
“We have got three big things on the bubble,” Holloway told the Leicester Mercury, after first raiding East Midlands neighbours Derby County for Steve Howard and then nicking the veteran Barry Hayles out of Plymouth.
“Whether we get them all or not, who knows? But it is a time of change and I am looking forward to that. We need wingers and midfield players because, when we pass the ball wide, we have got no-one who is a natural winger,” he added, well aware of the widespread interest in Pilgrims favourite Norris – presuming, of course, that was who he had in mind.
“There is a lot of competition for players out there just now. We were fortunate with Howard and Hayles. Will I be as lucky again? Who knows??