Date: 11th January 2006 at 2:52pm
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We asked the question at the weekend – ‘Why did Norwich not play Dean Ashton’? Did they not want to risk him being cup-tied when clubs were sniffing around set to make a bid?

And surpise, surprise – West Ham have tabled a £5million bid for Norwich City striker.

Hammers boss Alan Pardew may be forced to go higher than £5million – a fee that would equal the club record – as Norwich are holding out for £7.5million.

West Ham are short of options up front with on-loan David Bellion moving to Nice, while 39-year-old Teddy Sheringham can no longer play week in week out. And with Jeremie Aliadiere struggling to make an impact since arriving on loan from Arsenal, that leaves just Bobby Zamora and Marlon Harewood to lead the attack.

Pardew has so far failed in his attempts to sign Andy Johnson from Crystal Palace and Red Star Belgrade’s Nicola Zigic.

Now the Upton Park manager has turned his attentions to Ashton as he seeks to preserve West Ham’s top-flight status after going five league games without a victory.