Stoke City are among half-a-dozen Championship clubs credited with interest in Rochdale striker Stephen Humphrys.
The 23-year-old has returned from a horrifying career-threatening facial injury while on Southend’s books two years ago to be one of the leading strikers in League One this season.
The former Bury and Fulham youth has a reputation for his power, dribbling and hold up play and has scored 10 goals in 24 starts even as Rochdale have struggled at the bottom of the table.
It adds that “all six are very interested and likely to make a move this summer but as it stands Blackburn, Preston and Stoke are the three looking the most keen”.
Humphrys joined Rochdale on a two-year deal back in September.
Stoke will be in a hunt for a striker this season after seeing the impact of injuries to Tyrese Campbell and Steven Fletcher this season on the team’s fortunes.
But Michael O’Neill will be hampered in that bid by the EFL’s financial restrictions.
Stoke legend Denis Smith told StokeonTrentLive earlier this week: “You’ve got to look at the size of the squad and Financial Fair Play kills us. We either have to bring players through or be lucky to drop on one. I’m sure they’ll be scouring lower down where it will be cheaper to see where they can find that X-factor.”