Most of the talk surrounding Norwich City’s search for a striker in the last 24 hours has centred around Utrecht striker, Sebastien Haller. The Mirror reported he was set for a medical and then this morning, Haller’s agent admitted they had spoken to the Canaries and visited Colney on Thursday.
However, when asked about Haller at his pre-Bournemouth presser this morning, Neil was short in his response to questions on the subject.
‘Who is saying he is going to sign today? People seem to know more than us, then,’ he said. Neil still has Cameron Jerome, Dieumerci Mbokani and Kyle Lafferty as striking options after Lewis Grabban`s sale this week. “Obviously we have money from Lewis` sale we aim to re-invest. We have a host of targets we are trying to attract to the club. It is difficult to say how many. With the style we have adopted recently three strikers is more than enough cover to play that way right now. Certainly if one of those three were to leave we would have to add another striker to the books. I don`t think there are any questions about that.”
Neil was equally non-comittal on the subject of Steven Naismith or Kyle Lafferty, while explaining that Gary Hooper was due, as it stands to return to Norwich on Monday, after his loan at Sheffield Wednesday ends. The Owls have made no secret of wanting to keep him though.
‘There is nothing happening in that direction at the moment, in terms of a permanent deal,” said Neil. “We have spoken to Sheffield Wednesday but there doesn`t seem to be any agreement in place, be it an extended loan or a permanent deal. As far as I am aware they can do another loan. I don`t think there have been any extensive negotiations or anything in the pipeline right now. At this present moment he is coming back as it stands.
“Kyle`s situation has not changed. He is a member of the squad. If someone is interested then come and make an offer for him.”
Neil has no new injury concerns but Ivo Pinto won’t be included in the squad to face Bournemouth, as he continues to adjust to his new surroundings.
“He has come off a mid-season break, a different football culture and he has not trained a full week with the squad. I don`t think it would be fair on him to throw him in the deep end,” he said. “The lads in that position are performing well at the minute.”
Talking about Saturday’s match against Bournemouth, the City boss thinks it’s a good opportunity to pick up more points.
‘It’s a good game for us. It’s going to be a tough match, I think both teams are in a similar situation where they need to pick up points,’ Neil told Norwich City TV.
‘It’s crucial because Wednesday’s game was certainly a fixture that we looked at and thought we could pick points up. We didn’t play poorly. We played well in vast spells of the game, but it’s about getting points basically.’
Neil expects a tough test, despite beating the Cherries 3-1 at Carrow Road in September, a game that saw Wes Hoolahan give a virtuoso performance, scoring one and making one in the match.
‘Bournemouth are a really high pressing team.’
‘They want to dominate possession and play on the front foot so it will be a tough match.
‘We played really well against them at Carrow Road. Wes in particular was excellent, and it’s going to take another performance like that to ensure the points.’