MIDDLESBROUGH have raised the bar on Lukas Jutkiewicz – with Wanderers now looking at £1.25million to join the hunt for the striker.

The Riverside club are succeeding in their aim to get a bidding war started for the 25-year-old target man, and are believed to have turned down Derby County’s opening offer of £1m.

The Rams are now understood to have made an improved offer, which is currently under consideration.

Wigan Athletic and Wolves are also monitoring the situation but Blackburn Rovers have dropped out of contention after signing Doncaster Rovers’ Chris Brown yesterday.

Boro want to raise cash to fund Aitor Karanka’s spending plans but after Derby showed their hand at the weekend, they are now waiting to see whether anyone else follows suit.

Wanderers are still the preferred destination for Jutkiewicz but as the negotiations continued for the former Everton striker, the only direction players appeared to be heading at the Macron Stadium was towards the exit door.

Haggling continues in the deal that could see Premier League new boys Burnley take Marvin Sordell to Turf Moor.

Wanderers want to recoup as much of their massive £3.2m outlay on the former England Under-21 striker but are realistic enough to know they will have to take a heavy hit.

Meanwhile, reports in Derbyshire claim that League One Chesterfield have made a six-month loan offer to the Whites for Craig Davies.

Port Vale were also credited with an interest at the weekend but Wanderers are currently playing down both stories.

Despite a serious lack of striking options, Dougie Freedman could be convinced to part with the Wales international if the right offer came in.

Davies spent the latter half of last season on loan at Preston North End and Wanderers were preparing themselves for a permanent offer. But the Lancashire club have looked elsewhere and with first-team football still unlikely for the 28-year-old, a loan could be considered again.

Lee Peltier – a long-time target of Freedman’s – was officially released at Leeds United yesterday but he appears to be on his way to Huddersfield Town.