WANDERERS may be ready to call time on their pursuit of Cardiff City striker Joe Mason.

Dougie Freedman wanted the 22-year-old in place by the start of the season but has been forced to wait as he discusses a new contract with the Bluebirds.

Now, with three attacking slots still to be filled in the squad, the Whites boss has hinted that he could concentrate his efforts elsewhere.

“At the moment, Cardiff are saying Joe Mason is their player and so there isn’t a whole lot I can do about it,” he said.

“He came here and did fantastically well but realistically I’m now looking at the situation and thinking ‘which targets can we really get?’ “Being realistic, and at this late stage in the transfer window, I can see Joe being needed at Cardiff and not being surplus to requirements.

“So I have got to put more energy into getting players who are still available and at the right price.”

Freedman’s search for attacking reinforcements has stretched on all summer, and the Whites boss admits it is a gamble going into the new season with just Jermaine Beckford and Craig Davies as senior strikers on his books.

Beckford is likely to be named as the sole striker at Watford tomorrow with Davies and young Conor Wilkinson on the bench.

And the Wanderers boss concedes that the situation is unlikely to change any time soon.

“Players I want are not available right now because clubs are waiting on players to come in, or Premiership managers are still deciding on whether to let them out,” he said.

“Of course there have been players in the last few weeks, in our price bracket, who have become available. But they are not ones that I feel are going to further what we want to do at this football club.

“I will take a calculated risk and go a little short for the first three or four games up front, giving myself a bit of space money-wise to get the right players in.”