TALKS to sign Bristol Rovers striker Aaron Collins were heading in a “positive direction” as The Bolton News went to press last night.

Wanderers made a second and final bid for the Welshman, who won League One’s player of the year last season after scoring 16 goals and providing 12 assists.

The offer is understood to be worth £750,000 and neither club has yet confirmed whether it has been officially accepted.

But amid strong rumour that the player had been in the North West – even the club’s Whites Hotel – yesterday, sources close to the player say the move is “progressing” and on track to be completed before tonight’s 11pm deadline.

There has not yet been any indication of a medical for the 26-year-old, who has also been subject to a bid from League One rivals Charlton Athletic, which was turned down last week.

At the same time, Wanderers were unsuccessful with an offer of £600,000, local reports claiming that Bristol Rovers wanted a deal that reached close to £1million.

If Collins completes the deal, as now looks highly likely, he would become the most expensive single signing since Jay Spearing was brought in from Liverpool in the summer of 2013 for £1m.

The Newport-born forward withdrew from Bristol Rovers’ squad at the weekend before they were due to play against Oxford United with manager, Matt Taylor, appealing for a swift conclusion.

"It’s in the club’s hands,” he said. “We are in charge of that situation so until the valuation is met then he’ll still be our player. In terms of him being unavailable for us today, that was his decision.

“We understand it to a certain extent, as much as we don’t like it, but then there will need to be a quick solution in the next few days because the window closes late Thursday.”

Ian Evatt is due to give his pre-Barnsley press conference at 3pm today, which will also provide an opportunity to update on the fitness of Ricardo Santos and Eoin Toal, both of whom had scans on calf and Achillies injuries, respectively, on Wednesday.

Wanderers are highly likely to look for at least one defensive signing before the deadline to strengthen their hand, with Will Forrester still a couple of weeks away from fitness after a hamstring injury and Gethin Jones playing in the Asian Cup quarter-final against South Korea on Friday.

If the Socceroos fail to progress, Jones could be back in contention for a place in the squad next week, possibly even as early as the trip to Cambridge United on Tuesday night.

Wanderers could also send two of their younger players out on loan today.

Luke Mattheson and Nelson Khumbeni are understood to be in line for a move to gain experience, with both players wanted by clubs in League Two.