Royals continue to track Jordan Rhodes

Published: 15 May 2012 06:302 comments

READING manager Brian McDermott is narrowing his search for a new striker following strong links with Huddersfield Town hotshot Jordan Rhodes.

Royals target: Jordan Rhodes.
Pic: Huddersfield Examiner.

The club's interest in the 22-year-old forward was first revealed by the Chronicle back in January.

Four months on and with Reading now back in the Premier League, McDermott remains a big fan of Rhodes and watched the Scotland international score for the Terriers in their 2-0 win over MK Dons in the League One play-off semi-final first leg on Saturday.

But his chances of signing Rhodes could now all depend on whether Huddersfield secure promotion to the Championship, with the West Yorkshire club likely to slap a huge price tag on the player's head if they go up.

Oldham-born Rhodes, with 70 goals in 123 league appearances for the Terriers, has been valued at around £6 million.

McDermott refuses to discuss his targets, but he did say: "We're always looking for new players who can strengthen our squad.

"Our scouts are out there watching players all of the time and we will see what happens."

McDermott is likely to be given a substantial transfer kitty by prospective new owner Anton Zingarevich whose Thames Sports Investment company is in the process of a takeover of the club.

Gibralta-based TSI has agreed to buy 51% of the Royals for £25 million, but the process is yet to be ratified by the Premier League while they investigate the company's funds.

The buyout is taking longer that expected, but Reading continue to be linked with a host of potential targets in the past few weeks.

Nottingham Forest winger Garath McCleary is believed to be on the verge of signing a deal at Madejski Stadium having completed a medical last week.

The 24-year-old, Oxford-born midfielder was voted Forest's Player of the Year but his contract is due to expire next month when he will become a free agent. Forest are eager to keep him at the City Ground, but the lure of the Premier League could tempt him away.

McCleary spent two seasons at McDermott's first managerial club Slough Town in 2005-07, scoring nine goals in 42 games.

Rumours suggests Reading could also make an audacious bid to sign Tottenham Hotspur and England striker Jermain Defoe, 29, who is looking for regular first-team football next season.

Reports also state they are tracking Blackburn Rovers striker Junior Hoilett who is looking for a move back to the top-flight following their relegation to the Championship.

Valenciennes midfielder Carlos Sanchez and Newcastle's out-of-contract Danny Guthrie have also been linked with the Royals.

But whatever happens over the weeks to come, McDermott is relishing the chance to manage in the Premier League after winning the Championship title.

"Somebody said to me that ahead of us is the most difficult year in football, going into the Premier League - but I very much disagree with that," he declared.

"The season we've just had was so difficult for many reasons. Losing the play-off final at Wembley, losing players in the summer and trying to build again. Therefore to achieve what we've achieved, the staff, players and fans, is incredible. I could not be more proud."

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