NEIL WARNOCK has revealed how timely telephone calls from David Norris’s former Portsmouth team-mates helped Leeds United to pip Sheffield Wednesday to the signature of the in-demand midfielder.
The 31-year-old, a major target for both Yorkshire clubs this summer, plumped for Elland Road after speaking to the Owls and another unnamed club earlier this week.
Norris, whose £250,000 switch is subject to him passing a medical at Thorp Arch today, only joined Portsmouth a year ago but the dire financial plight of the League One club meant he had to leave the south coast.
In becoming the fourth summer signing from Fratton Park, Norris further swells the Portsmouth influence at Leeds and Warnock has revealed how messages from Jason Pearce, Jamie Ashdown and Luke Varney had helped steer the player towards LS11.
The United manager told the Yorkshire Post: “David is someone who has been on my radar for some time. I first noticed him at Plymouth so it is great to finally get the chance to work with him.
“I’d spoken to him quite a few times recently but I also knew he was speaking to a couple of other clubs. He’d been to look round their grounds so I made sure the three lads we’ve signed from Portsmouth recently got in touch with David and made it clear just what a special club this is.
“Jason Pearce, Luke Varney and Jamie Ashdown all told him just how big Leeds are and what it has been like this week on our tour of Cornwall.
“Our fans are the talk of Cornwall. We’ve brought thousands down and filled the grounds for Tavistock and Bodmin. We’ll, no doubt, do the same against Torquay (tonight when Leeds have sold 2,000 tickets).
“Even the open training session (on Tuesday) saw hundreds of fans come along. The lads told David all about this and I am sure it made an impression on him.”
Norris, once his medical is completed, will become United’s fourth signing of the week after Warnock agreed deals with Varney, Ashdown and Andy Gray.
SK Brann midfielder Rodolph Austin is also due to sign in the next few days once his work permit comes through, while United also plan to sit down with former Coventry City defender Martin Cranie once tonight’s game at Plainmoor is out of the way.
The 25-year-old, a free agent after leaving the Sky Blues in the summer, has been on trial with Leeds since the start of pre-season.
Warnock added: “Losing Robert Snodgrass (who is in talks with Norwich City over a transfer that could net £3m) was a blow but, otherwise, it has been a very productive week.
“Gradually, we are getting targets in but now we need to push on and get the striker situation sorted.”