Hibernian have not given up hope of signing Marc McNulty from Reading and are expected to make a third approach to the Championship club.
The former Easter Road youth player has fallen out of favour at the Madejski Stadium since the arrival of Jose Gomes as manager and the opportunity of regular first team football and the chance to push for international recognition means the 26-year-old would be interested in a move back to the Scottish top flight.
However, Hibs will have to up the ante if they are to fend off competition from Sunderland, Wigan and Luton, who have emerged as their main rivals.
Former Livingston player McNulty, who left to join Sheffield United almost five years ago for a six figure fee, has since had spells at Portsmouth and Bradford City.
Last season he netted 28 goals for Coventry City to help them gain promotion to League One.
That kind of scoring return has made him a key target for Hibs, who look likely to fall short in their efforts to bring forward Scott Allan’s summer switch from Celtic.
The signs are more positive in the case of McNulty, in whom Hibs’ city rivals Hearts were reportedly interested during the summer transfer window.
Reading are keen to recoup some of the money spent when they signed him for around £1m in July and with three and a half years remaining on his deal an agreement will have to be reached that suits all parties.
The arrival of McNulty would serve as a pick-me-up for the club in the wake of the shock suspension of manager Neil Lennon and recent league form, which leaves Hibs stuck in eighth position in the Premiership, having struggled with injuries and inconsistency in front of goal.
With Lennon on his way out and his successor still to be identified, it is up to the Hibs board to ensure squad weaknesses are addressed before the transfer window closes tomorrow night. With it now looking ever more likely that the Easter Road fans will have to wait until the summer for the arrival of Allan, signing McNulty would help them do that.
As well as looking for new players, the club are also searching for a new manager as they edge closer to a settlement with Lennon that would formally end his two-and-a half-year spell at the club.
Lennon, who took over from Alan Stubbs in June 2016, and assistant Garry Parker were suspended after a couple of unacceptably combustible meetings – with players and chief executive Leeann Dempster on Friday. The pair were not in the dugout for the win over St Mirren on Sunday.
Representatives of the duo, who are contracted to the club until 2020, have been trying to negotiate a deal that would leave both Hibs and Lennon free to move on.
It is understood that lawyers are close to reaching that agreement, with a statement expected today.