Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty is a step closer ending his torrid time in Norfolk as Norwich prepare to bring in ex-Rangers team-mate Steven Naismith, according to reports.

Manager Alex Neil refused to let Lafferty leave the club, despite only playing 27 minutes in the top flight this season, until he recruited another forward following the departure of Lewis Grabban to Bournemouth.

With the expected arrival of the Everton forward in a deal believed to be worth around £8million, Lafferty will have to look to the Championship to get the minutes he needs to be in top form in preparations for the European Championships in the summer.

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Leeds, who had a loan move rejected for the Northern Ireland cult hero, are still believed to be interested as they look for quality competition for Chris Wood. Leeds’ opponents on Saturday, Bristol City, are also believed to be after Lafferty’s services as their struggle for goals has left them in the relegation zone.

Despite not having made an impact on the pitch, Lafferty will leave Norwich a very popular figure with the fans. Few would begrudge him for leaving in search of regular game-time as he approaches the biggest tournament of his career.