Blues star man poised for exit

David Nugent is poised to join Leicester
David Nugent is poised to join Leicester

Gaffer: Surreal experience but a deserved Pompey win

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Leicester are set to win the race for David Nugent.

The out-of-contract striker’s days at Pompey are numbered, with the big-spending Foxes now hot favourites to secure his services.

But Jason Shackell has been added to the Blues’ transfer hit-list as they battle it out with a number of Championship rivals for the Barnsley captain.

Pompey are in the hunt for the Tykes’ £1m-rated centre-back as Steve Cotterill waits to launch into transfer activity.

But the Blues will have to beat the likes of Derby, Hull and Burnley to the signature of Shackell – who was Barnsley’s player of the season last term – after he was told he could leave Oakwell.

Leicester manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has placed Nugent at the top of his striking priorities as he continues to splash the cash at the Walkers Stadium.

That means Nugent’s four-year stay at Fratton Park – following his £6m arrival from Preston – is certain to come to an end.

Eriksson has been linked with a host of top-line strikers as he looks to buy his way into the Premier League.

Emile Heskey, former Blues forwards Yakubu and Diomansy Kamara, and Marlon King have all been in the former England boss’ sights but Nugent is the player the Swede is now focusing his attentions on.

That means the likes of Bolton, Blackpool and Ipswich are all set to miss out on the man who scored 20 goals in 93 appearances in his time at Pompey.

Cotterill spoke to Nugent in an effort to convince him to stay but failed to make any headway.

The Pompey boss has long been resigned to his departure, though, with the club also losing his £25,000-a-week wage off their bill.

Cotterill has a host of other players in his sights with his targets assembled, as he waits to get the green light to begin his work from new owners Convers Sports Initiatives.

David Norris’ arrival is waiting to be registered with the Football League authorities, and the central mid-fielder could now be joined by Shackell.

Derby have already had bids of £700,000 and £750,000 turned down for the former Norwich defender.

Barnsley were keen to hold out for £1.5m for the player they signed for £650,000 from Wolves under a year ago.

But the understanding is it will be down to Shackell to take his pick of any of the clubs who hit the £1m mark for him.

Barnsley boss Keith Hill fully expects the player to leave but vowed it would be at the right price.

Hill said: ‘Jason’s away on holiday and we’re talking to him when he returns.

‘If a player wants to leave it’s best for both parties to amicably part.

‘He’s a high-calibre player and one of the best centre-backs in the Championship.

‘He has two years on his contract, so if he leaves it won’t be on the cheap.’