Bristol City are weighing up their options as they look to recruit a forward this window to complete their transfer business regarding permanent signings.
The Robins may yet use the loan market or make sales but their immediate concern is to bring in another forward.
“I’d like somebody to stick the ball in the back of the net,” said manager Nigel Pearson in June when discussing his recruitment plans for the window.
Bristol Live understands that Rotherham striker Michael Smith is one of the club’s priority transfer targets this window, although free agent Joe Pigott, formerly of AFC Wimbledon, and Blackpool’s Jerry Yates have also been considered.
But there is competition for Smith, with Middlesbrough also maintaining an interest in the player, with Neil Warnock looking for one more forward to add to his squad to complement the recent signings of Sammy Ameobi and Uche Ikpeazu.
Here’s what Millers boss Warne has had to say on the future of 29-year-old Smith so far, when discussing interest in the striker to the Rotherham Advertiser last month.
“In fairness to Smudge and Matt [Crooks, wanted by Ipswich Town], both have a year left on their contracts,” said Warne.
“I haven’t had a conversation with them [about it/their futures]. For all I know they might want to negotiate their contracts down and re-negotiate with us.
“I tried to re-negotiate with them last season and neither had a real appetite to do it.
“If you said to me you can have Smudge and Crooks for the season and let their contracts run out then I would if the money wasn’t right.
“There is no point selling them for a cheap fee to a League One or a Championship club when from a football manager’s point of view I would rather have them in the building.
“I don’t want to lose any of my players but if the money is right and everyone is happy then it might well happen, but as of yet there has been no bids to turn down and no real official contact.
“It is no surprise clubs might like our players, because they’re quite good.”
Rotherham assistant boss Richie Barker indicated to the Rotherham Advertiserback in May that there is interest in Smith this transfer window.
Is there a hint here that Boro have an upper hand given their location and Smith being from Wallsend?
“You have conversations with people in the game all the time,” Warne’s assistant said. “Smudge’s name crops up as one of those who have had successful Championship seasons.
“That (Middlesbrough) has been talked about for a while, firstly because Smudge has played quite well against them in the last few years and, secondly, with him being from the North East.
“He also scored up at their place when we beat them 3-0. They have a lot of strikers out of contract as well.”
Bristol City may wait to see what evolves with Smith, move on for free agent Pigott or move for a different forward. With four signings wrapped up and a month before the new campaign starts time is on their side as it stands.
As Jon Lansdown recently explained to Bristol Live: “Normally, you want to get things done as soon as you can so you can get the group together and get them up to fitness.
“I’m sure there will be some good opportunities late as well. We’re not going to rush into everything but we’ve got our targets and luckily we’ve managed to get a good number done early.”
The transfer game of poker continues.