Pool could still land Punch

Jason Puncheon takes on Man United's Ji Sung Park at Old Trafford last season.
Jason Puncheon takes on Man United's Ji Sung Park at Old Trafford last season.
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POOL have missed out on signing one of their Premier League loan stars but still have a chance with another.

While Luke Varney is settling in at Portsmouth, Jason Puncheon remains a big target and and Pool have reason to hope they can do a deal.

Seasiders boss Ian Holloway was delighted at the way Puncheon took to the Premier League and the Pool manager is eager to bring him to Bloomfield Road on a permanent basis.

Pool registered their interest with his club Southampton at the start of the summer.

The attacking midfielder is under contract at St Mary’s until 2013 but Saints will sell and are believed to want between £750,000 and £1m.

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins has made it clear Puncheon isn’t in his plans and he wants the player to move on.

He made that clear by excluding Puncheon from Southampton’s training camp in Leicestershire this week, and the 25-year-old doesn’t have a seat on the plane for the pre-season tour to Switzerland.

Punchon has confirmed that he sees his future elsewhere, having been asked if he would like to leave.

When Pool made contact at the start of the summer, Puncheon was keeping his options open.

He was hoping for a move to a Premier League club, in particular Newcastle. His hopes of a move there were triggered by comments by Magpies boss Alan Pardew, who described Puncheon as a fine player and suggested he would try to sign him.

However, Newcastle have not followed up that interest and the only Premier League club to have made an enquiry are newly-promoted QPR.

Portsmouth, attempting to clamber back out of the Championship this season, have also asked Southampton about Puncheon but are yet to table an offer.

In the end, it is likely to come down to which club offers the best wages. Pool have money in the coffers to offer Puncheon a decent deal.

Varney was more than willing to come back to Blackpool had the club decided to pursue him but he was snapped up by Portsmouth for £750,000.

Varney will face his old Seasiders team-mates on September 24, when Pool travel to Fratton Park.

The frontman, who spent all last season on loan at Blackpool from Derby and scored five Premier League goals, is a direct for replacement for David Nugent, who went to big-spending Leicester.

Leicester have been installed as the bookies- favourites to win the Championship following Sven-Goran Eriksson’s spending spree, with West Ham, Birmingham and Portsmouth also strongly tipped. Pool are eighth favourites to go up.