Bristol Rovers transfer target coy on speculation as Gas and Oxford United await decision

James Norwood wasn’t giving too much away about his next steps with Bristol Rovers and Oxford United two clubs with definitive interes

<p>Bristol Rovers and Oxford United want to know what is happening with James Norwood. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)</p>

Bristol Rovers and Oxford United want to know what is happening with James Norwood. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

James Norwood has refused to be drawn into speculation over his next move as Bristol Rovers and Oxford United lay in waiting over his next steps.

The 31-year-old has been linked with a move to the Gas, as well as to their League One rivals in the last week, who are also keen for him to join.

It was said in a report that he had held advanced talks with Rovers but that Oxford had also had a keen interest with a decision to be made in the coming week or so.

Nothing so far has come to light on whether the experienced striker will choose Rovers or not  but he could potentially be lining up against the club that let him go.

That has brought up how he thinks he would be perceived by their supporters should he turn up against them which could be a possibility with two third tier clubs interested.

Appearing on an Ipswich Town podcast hosted by ‘the Renegade Statman’ and England midfielder Kieron Dyer, the former Tractor Boys  didn’t give too much away on his next move.

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Asked whether he would celebrate next season should he score for his prospective new club against them, he said: “I can’t really say too much on that to be honest, if I do come up against Ipswich.

“I saw how they treated Will Keane. So we will see how that goes on whether there are muted celebrations.

“I think there is a respect level of clubs that you play for. I had that at Tranmere and I didn’t celebrate.

“At Forest Green I didn’t celebrate the first one and then they started abusing me. There’s a great picture of me shushing the fans in the play-off semi-final.

“Listen you give as good as you get. As far as I am concerned if I’ve got respect for someone, I’m not gonna disrespect them.

“A goal is a goal but I had three years at Ipswich I really enjoyed. If the reception at Ipswich is mutual, I could celebrate another 29 times if I get to 30.”

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Rovers’ boss Joey Barton is a known friend of Norwood and his name was brought up as the former Tranmere Rovers striker sat down on the podcast.

A photo posted on Norwood on his Instagram account back in November 2019 had him pictured alongside Barton (then manager at Fleetwood Town) at the time, along with first-team coach Andy Mangan.

He was questioned on the podcast as to whether that photo was the cause of him being dropped from the team. The striker though was able to clarify the situation and mentioned that his absence from the Ipswich starting 11 instead was owed to an injury that he sought help for.

He said: ‘I know them from Liverpool and saw a couple of mates. I posted the picture because then it shouldn’t matter.

“I remember Lambo (Paul Lambert) telling me a guy in a Chinese restaurant went up to him and said have you seen Norwood with Joey Barton?

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“He was like no? That is how it came about. I wasn’t dropped. I had an injection into my groin.”

Norwood is currently a free agent is and is free to speak to clubs following the expiration of his contract. An offer has reportedly been put on the table to him by Rovers who will now await his final decision as they try to build for this season.

At Ipswich, he scored 28 goals in 88 appearances which is a respectable return for a striker that was in and out of the side and played under multiple managers.

He could be one of five or six signings in addition to the three; Jordan Rossiter, James Gibbons and James Connolly, that have already joined.

Speaking to BristolLive after the 6-1 win over Melksham Town on Friday evening before jetting off to Portugal, Barton said: “We intend to strengthen the group again. I think we’re five or six signings away from where we want to be, but there is a long way to go in the window.”