Luke Varney looks set to join Portsmouth despite his craving to return to the Premier League.
Derby striker Varney, who spent last season on loan at Blackpool, says he is prepared to go to a Championship side which “has the ambition” to get to the top flight.
The striker told The Gazette he would be more than willing to return to Bloomfield Road after a thoroughly enjoyable campaign.
But sources at Pool indicate that won’t happen – Varney’s wages at Pride Park are hard to match – and Championship rivals Portsmouth are heading the queue for the 28-year-old.
Varney said yesterday: “I’ve got 12 months left on my contract at Derby and I would love to think I’d done enough during my time away to earn a place in the team.
“But I realise I am not part of the manager’s (Nigel Clough) plans. There is a bit of interest in me from other clubs, as I understand.
“I would love to stay at the highest level, but if there was another Championship club out there who showed the ambition to get up to the Premier League that would be interesting to me as well.
“It is something I would have to think about. I’m in a position where I can be a bit more picky now.”
“I had a great time at Blackpool and it was the best part of my career, in spells.
“Obviously it was disappointing to be relegated, but it was still a fantastic experience to play in the Premier League and hopefully that can continue.”