Sunderland boss Jack Ross has started a charm offensive as he attempts to wrap up a deal for Pompey target Mo Eisa.
The Black Cats manager has hailed the Cheltenham striker’s goalscoring record and admitted he's been a long-term admirer of the player.
Eisa, who scored 25 goals in 50 appearances for the League Two Robins last season following an impressive record at non-league level, has been the subject of bids from the Blues, Peterborough and Sunderland in recent days.
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett has had three bids turned down for the Sudanese front man who is rated at £1.5m by his club, while Sunderland are waiting a response on an offer they have reportedly lodged.
Last week the Posh had a £1m bid rejected by the Whaddon Road side.
Sunderland’s coffers have been boosted after Tunisian winger Wahbi Khazri yesterday completed a move to French side Saint-Etienne for an initial £6m which could rise to £9m with add-ons.
They have also targeted Bradford striker Charlie Wyke, with a £600,000 offer currently on the table, as they attempt to return to the Championship at the first time of asking.
Yet, Ross’ high praise for Eisa could hand him the advantage when it comes to Eisa.
Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, the former St Mirren manager said: ‘James Fowler (assistant manager) and I were always very thorough in terms of recruitment in Scotland, we were always aware of players in England.
‘We look a lot at playing history, what they have done and he is a player whose goalscoring record has been outstanding through different levels.
‘There shouldn’t be a snobbery attached to that. To score that many goals, you have to be good.
‘Again, same as Charlie Wyke, he is a player under contract.
‘I would never speak too much about them other than to say they are good players, which is probably stating the obvious.’