POMPEY have placed Lee Novak at the top of their transfer hit-list.
But the striker’s wage demands look close to burying the chances of a move to Fratton Park.
Paul Cook is desperate to bring Novak to the club and has made him his No1 summer target.
Novak is seen as just the kind of man who can help the Blues go from League Two promotion contenders to the finished article.
The 27-year-old smashed in 15 goals for Chesterfield last season in a side who finished in 18th place in League One.
But there is other interest in the freescoring Geordie talent from League One sides.
Sheffield United are said to be keen, while Shrewsbury have distanced themselves from talk of a move.
Novak is out of contract after being released by Birmingham City following his move to St Andrews in 2013.
After an impressive season with the Spireites that puts him in a strong negotiating position when choosing his next move.
A number of clubs being keen on the player bolsters his position further, enabling Novak’s representative to attempt to drive up his earning potential.
The News understands his demands are now becoming unrealistic, however, with Pompey keen not to send an impressive League Two playing budget into orbit.
The Blues already face a testing task convincing a player who has scored goals regularly at Championship and League One level to drop to the English game’s basement tier.
Cook is convinced Novak will make that move, however, if terms can be agreed.
Novak has shown his predatory instincts with a strong goal record in his career.
After joining Huddersfield from Scottish side Gretna in 2009, Novak went on to score 14 goals in League One the following season.
That was topped by 17 goals the next term as the Terriers won promotion to the Championship via the play-offs.
Six goals arrived in the 2012-13 season before earning a move to Birmingham.
Novak finished as the top scorer in his first season at St Andrew with 10 goals, but just two came the next season after falling out of favour under Gary Rowett.
That paved the way for his exit for the Proact Stadium and the impressive form he delivered before his Birmingham release.
Pompey kickstarted what is expected to be a busy summer of transfer activity by landing Danny Rose from Northampton on Friday.
Chesterfield’s Jay O’Shea remains a target with two bids already knocked back for the attacking midfielder.
Cook would like to bring Kieron Freeman, who spent the second half of the season on loan at Fratton Park, back to the club.
And Duane Holmes, who has been released by Huddersfield, is also on Pompey’s radar.