Foxes hunt Sharp

Rovers' Billy Sharp is pictured in action during last month's 2-1 win over Leicester. Picture: Andrew Roe
Rovers' Billy Sharp is pictured in action during last month's 2-1 win over Leicester. Picture: Andrew Roe

LEICESTER City are poised to up their offer for Billy Sharp, the Free Press understands.

The Foxes have already had one undisclosed bid for Sharp - thought to be in the region of £2million - rejected by Rovers.

But City boss Nigel Pearson, who has been given a £10million war chest to win promotion this season, is determined to bolster his squad’s firepower and will make another attempt to land Sharp.

Wigan, West Bromwich Albion, Stoke and Fulham have all been credited with an interest in the 25-year-old, and Rovers chairman John Ryan has admitted that Sharp would jump at the chance to play in the Premier League.

Ryan also admitted for the first time this week that Sharp may be tempted to join a Championship club fighting for promotion.

Leicester are among a host of second tier sides who would like Sharp in their ranks - but the Foxes are the first club to back up their interest with a bid.

Ryan, who in an exclusive Free Press interview today confesses to considering his future as chairman as a result of a traumatic 2011, says he is still hopeful Sharp will remain at Rovers for the rest of the season.

“If a Premier League team comes in then he’s gone tomorrow,” said Ryan.

“If a Championship team comes in that might be in the Premier League next season then I think we also might be struggling to keep him.

“All Billy can do is keep on scoring. The offers are bound to come in.

“I’ve always said it’s up to Billy,” he added.

“We’re not in a position to improve his contract - we can’t afford it.

“But Billy is not a person who is motivated by money.

“He had the chance to go to Burnley before he joined us and earn more money but he turned it down.

“I still think Billy will stay till the end of the season.

“All we can do is wait and see.”

Ryan has publicly stated that Sharp’s contract contains a clause which allows him to speak to any club that offers £3m.

But that will not prevent a potential bidding war for the hot shot’s services - with Rovers keen to make as much profit as possible on their £1.15m record buy.

Dean Saunders was less optimistic about holding onto his star striker when quizzed after Monday’s vital 2-0 derby win over Barnsley.

Saunders said: “We have had a bid which has not been accepted, but I think we are going to get a few bids.

“If I was being honest, I don’t think he’ll be here at the end of January.

“I hope he does stay for obvious reasons - he’s scored ten goals in 16 games for me.”

Ipswich Town boss Paul Jewell, who failed with a £2.3m bid for Sharp in the summer, recently claimed Rovers’ record buy was out of the Tractor Boys’ price range.

Southampton, Birmingham City, West Ham and Hull City are also said to be interested in the former Scunthorpe and Sheffield United man.