By Alex Stevens

Leeds gave up on signing striker Kyle Lafferty because the deal proved to be too expensive, according to Steve Evans.

The Championship club’s manager has defended the decision not to clinch a loan move for the Norwich spearhead.

Lafferty, a transfer target who Evans pursued without success before and during the January transfer window, is set to lead the Birmingham line against Leeds on Tuesday night after moving to St Andrews on loan from Norwich last month.

Evans tried and failed to bring Lafferty to Elland Road during the emergency loan window in the first half of this season and also held extensive talks with Norwich about a deal during the January window.

Birmingham found a way to finance a move for a player who the Yorkshire Evening Post claims earns in excess of £30,000-a-week, and the deal was finalised at the end of the recent emergency loan window.

Evans has defended the failure to add a striker to a squad that has scored just 39 goals in 40 Championship matches this season.

“On deadline day it (a deal for Lafferty) was as close as you could be,” said Evans, as quoted on Tuesday by the Yorkshire Evening Post. “We just didn’t get it over the line.

“Birmingham got it done and I’m sure our supporters will ask why that is but that fact is that they thought they had a serious chance of the play-offs.

Steve Evans says reports he will be dismissed by Leeds should be ignored

Over priced: Evans claims Lafferty deal was too expensive for Leeds

“If they had just been playing through to the end of the season, they wouldn’t have done a deal so rich either.

“I wanted to sign Kyle, everyone knows that, but from a club point of view it was the right thing not to do that deal.”

Lafferty subsequently scored on his Birmingham debut, finding the net in a 2-1 defeat to Brighton, and is expected to start his third match for the club in Tuesday’s match against Leeds at St Andrews.

Birmingham need a victory to keep alive their chances of a top-six finish while Leeds have little to play for after three defeats in four matches left them rooted in 15th in the Championship.

In other Leeds news, Evans is confident midfield sensation Lewis Cook will be rewarded for an excellent campaign.