Belfast Telegraph

Kyle Lafferty to be loan star

By Stuart McKinley

Kyle Lafferty's chances of playing regular football ahead of Euro 2016 will now depend on him securing a loan move out of Norwich City.

The Northern Ireland striker's hopes of finding a new club evaporated as the January transfer window closed last night, ending his chances of a permanent move away from Carrow Road.

The Football League's loan window reopens next week and with Leeds United, Bristol City and more recently, Wolverhampton Wanders expressing an interest in the Fermanagh man he could still escape his misery in Norfolk, where he has made just three substitute appearances this season.

Lafferty could have returned to FC Sion after the Swiss club, who he spent the 2012-13 season with before joining Italian side Palermo, enquired about taking him on loan until the end of the season.

The 28-year-old, however, knocked back that move, preferring instead to stay in England.

That decision appeared to leave Lafferty facing five months in limbo before leading the Northern Ireland attack at the Euro 2016 finals, but it now seems that Norwich manager Alex Neill is open to letting the player leave on loan after previously stating that another club would have to buy him.

"With Kyle at the end of the day someone has to show interest and make an offer," said Neill.

"There has been interest, but it didn't happen, so he remains part of the squad until such time someone makes a reasonable offer.

"There was a loan offer available but Kyle decided not to go so it is not something we have completely turned down up to this point as an option."

Whatever happens at club level Lafferty, who scored seven times in nine games during the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, will be Michael O'Neill's first-choice striker when Northern Ireland get to France.

Belfast Telegraph