Charlton move is a mystery to McKenzie

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The Independent Online

The Norwich striker Leon McKenzie has played down suggestions that he is ready to leave Carrow Road in the summer. The 27-year-old scored seven goals as Norwich narrowly missed out on Premiership survival and reports at the weekend linked the former Crystal Palace forward with a £1.5m switch to Charlton as Alan Curbishley looks to bolster his strike force following a disappointing end to their own campaign.

McKenzie, though, insisted he knew nothing about any approach. "I'm away at the moment and I haven't spoken to my agent, but it all sounds like paper talk to me," he said.

After McKenzie's goals - five of which came in the final 11 games - had helped Norwich pull clear of the relegation zone going into the final day of the season, their fate was sealed following their 6-0 thrashing at Fulham.

The Norwich manager Nigel Worthington has already insisted that none of his key men - including the England squad goalkeeper Robert Green, midfielder Damien Francis and striker Dean Ashton - is for sale as the Norfolk club now prepare for life in the Coca-Cola Championship and seek to return to the top flight at the first time of asking.

"It's been pretty tough," McKenzie told the Norwich Evening News. "We need to pick ourselves up. But everyone is different individually with the way they deal with these things."

The Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr has lost another defender to injury ahead of his side's three fixtures over the next fortnight. Kerr, without the services of Manchester City centre-back Richard Dunne, who underwent a double ankle operation before the end of the season, has now seen Sunderland's Gary Breen withdraw.

The 31-year-old has failed to recover from a knee injury sustained in the final game of Sunderland's promotion-winning campaign from the Championship, a 1-0 win at home to Stoke.

Breen is now out of this Sunday's testimonial game against Celtic at Parkhead, as well as the World Cup qualifying matches with Israel at Lansdowne Road on 4 June and the Faroe Islands in Torshavn four days later.

Kerr confirmed: "Gary's knee injury has failed to respond to daily treatment since the last game of the season and he has had to withdraw from these games.

"I am disappointed to lose a defender of Gary's experience, but I am hopeful he will be fit to return for the autumn internationals."

Leeds have confirmed they have turned down a second bid for Frazer Richardson from newly- promoted Sunderland.

The versatile 22-year-old featured in 42 games for Leeds last season and is wanted by Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy to boost his defence ahead of another campaign in the top-flight.

But Leeds chairman Ken Bates described Sunderland's latest offer as "derisory", insisting the Yorkshire club will not be selling one of their most prized assets. It has been reported that Sunderland have increased an initial offer of £250,000 to £300,000 for the Rotherham-born midfielder.

It is also understood that Sunderland could be ready to scupper Leeds' plans to lure out-of-contract Ipswich midfielder Tommy Miller to Elland Road. The Leeds manager Kevin Blackwell has held talks with Miller, but the 26-year-old is set to open negotiations with Sunderland about returning to his roots in the North-east.

Lincoln boss Keith Alexander has agreed a new three-year contract ahead of Saturday's League Two play-off final against Southend. Alexander's present deal was due to run out at the end of next season.

Hull have signed midfielder Keith Andrews on a two-year deal from Wolves. The 24-year-old Irishman joins the Tigers on a Bosman free transfer after spending nine years at Molineux.

Andrews had been offered a new contract by Wolves boss Glenn Hoddle before a hernia operation curtailed his season, but he has opted for a move to the KC Stadium instead.

Hull midfielder Jason Price has agreed a new one-year contract extension, keeping him at the KC Stadium for next season.

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