OTBC vote shows strong desire to keep Deano

Last updated : 09 January 2006 By Rick Lamb
A Norwich City Mad poll has revealed that a third of fans would see retaining the services of star striker Dean Ashton as the primary issue this month.

The result was hardly a surprise given the high esteem in which the club's record signing and current top scorer is held both locally and in the manager's office at a number of Premiership clubs.

The boss was also high on the list of priorities for the new year, with just over a quarter of those who participated in the vote feeling strong enough to say that January should see a change of manager at the club. Nigel Worthington was named Championship manager of the month for December after five successive wins, but the club's mid-table position is still seen by many as a failure. Despite there being plenty of points still on offer, Reading and Sheffield United are far ahead of the Canaries, who are at the back end of the chasing pack.

Behind Ashton and Worthington came concerns over the strength of the team's midfield. Damien Francis, Mattias Jonsson, David Bentley and Gary Holt were among the exodus from Carrow Road in the summer, and a spate of injuries to the likes of Andy Hughes and the loss of Youssef Safri to African Nations Cup duty have made the engine room a priority. Dickson Etuhu is now in full-time and Jason Jarrett looks more like a potential replacement for Francis than he did before his loan at Plymouth, but resources seem constantly to be stretched.

The latest vote concerns which of the numerous players linked to the club you would most like to see come in.

Robbie Fowler and Francis Jeffers may stretch the wage budget, but would show the sort of ambition that the loan signings of Darren Huckerby and Peter Crouch did two seasons ago.

Andy Gray, now of Sunderland, Coventry's Gary McSheffrey and Cardiff hotshot Cameron Jerome have all scored goals at Championship level and would add depth to the attack but, with the possible exception of Jerome, would not be inspiring replacements should Ashton be tempted away.

Few would argue with money being spent on Calum Davenport, the Spurs defender having performed well during his loan spell, while his club-mate Mark Yeates is beginning to make a name for himself on loan at Colchester. Like Yeates, Mansfield's Giles Coke has been linked after impressing in the lower leagues and could be something of a bargain.

What do you think?