Derby County have emerged as a strong contender to sign free-scoring Peterborough United striker Jack Marriott.
Marriott has expressed a wish to join Derby’s main rivals in the Championship Nottingham Forest, but the Reds have yet to make a formal bid.
And Posh director of football Barry Fry has now revealed new Derby boss Frank Lampard, a Chelsea and England legend, has declared an interest in a 23 year-old who scored 33 goals in his first season at the ABAX Stadium.
Bristol City are also still very much in the hunt for Marriott who would prefer to stay in the Midlands. He lives near Northampton.
“Jack does want to join Nottingham Forest,” Fry admitted. “But Derby’s interest is recent and I would say they have a better chance of making us the right sort of offer.
“I spoke to Frank Lampard and his father at the play-off finals which was before he had got the Derby job, although it was common knowledge he would be appointed.
“We talked about a lot of players, but Harry Redknapp had told him to keep an eye on our club because of our habit of finding goalscorers.
“Forest say they are keen on Jack, but they have made no offer yet despite their manager being very friendly with our manager. They talk all the time and Jack is a regular subject.
“Bristol City are also very keen, but again no bid has been made that I would even take to the board.”
Posh are understood to want a club record £6.5 million fee for Marriott, more than the current club record £6 million they received for another striker Dwight Gayle from Crystal Palace in August 2013. Eight clubs have reportedly made an enquiry for him.
Posh are also relaxed about keeping Marriott if their valuation isn’t met.
Chairman Darragh MacAnthony said: “We were burnt a few years ago when not letting a top player (Lee Tomlin) go to Celtic. It caused mayhem in our dressing room and in the end cost us promotion in my opinion.
“At times, the right thing to do is get the best deal for the club and move on and trust our recruitment process.
“But that’s the beauty of Jack Marriott. He was the best professional we had last season.
“He was first in, last out each day, not money orientated and wouldn’t give us a moment’s bother if he stayed.”
The expected bid from a Championship club for Marcus Maddison hadn’t materialised as of 5pm yesterday (June 13).
Experienced midfielder Anthony Grant has been given permission to talk to a ‘high-end League One club’ even though a transfer fee has yet to be agreed. Shrewsbury, who lost in the League One play-off final last season, are believed to want Grant.