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Engine Noise gonna cost me £££???

  Clio 197
hi, i hope some one can help me please, i have a 2000 clio sport 172 and have a noise coming from the engine, the noise is almost a dry raspy noise but quite loud , on idol the engine sounds to be not running quite right and can chug a little, and then the noise is on acceleration in lowish revs and inbetween gear changes aswell. I have taken it to a garage who changed oil, confirmed its not the cam belt or the aux belt and now saying it could be cam followers or cam lifters which he reckons takin most of the engine out to do and gonna cost a fortune, anyone any ideas? someone suggested something to do with the power steering?!? thank for your time
  Titanium 182
Sure its not the exhaust ?

Check the catalytic converter output flange hasn't got a crack in it.