WANDERERS are closing in on their first bargain of the January sales in Barnsley striker Craig Davies.
Dougie Freedman will hold talks with the Wales international on Friday morning with a view to a £300,000 deal, which would make him the manager’s first permanent signing.
Davies scored a stunner against the Whites at the Reebok in November on his return from a hamstring injury and has already scored nine times in a struggling team at Oakwell.
But Freedman has had to act quickly to steal a march on Championship rivals Leicester City and Leeds United and exploit a buy-out clause in the 26-year-old’s contract.
Barnsley had attempted to talk Davies into signing a new two-year deal over Christmas but the powerful centre-forward, who started his career at Manchester City, wanted to explore his options in the light of an abundance of interest in the division.
Boasting five senior caps for Wales, the Burton-born front man has earned his spurs in the lower leagues, also turning out for Oxford United, Brighton and Oldham Athletic.
But in recent seasons he has developed a more lethal touch in front of goal, netting 11 times for the Tykes last year and notching 25 for Chesterfield in League Two during the 2010/11 season.
Freedman had spoken publicly about addressing an “imbalance” in his squad but was expected to commence his transfer activity in the back four, with West Brom defender Craig Dawson high on his wish-list.
Davies’s contract situation could have forced the club into action – but should he agree terms, his arrival would certainly put pressure on Freedman’s existing strike force.
Kevin Davies has missed just one game this season for Wanderers, through suspension, but David Ngog’s injury problems have restricted the Frenchman to only 10 league starts.
Most of Benik Afobe’s chances, and five starts, have come in a wider role, while Marvin Sordell – who is tipped to feature against Sunderland in the cup tomorrow – has only three league starts to his name so far.