Davies’s exit set to add to struggling Barnsley’s problems

BARNSLEY are bracing themselves for the departure of top scorer Craig Davies, who is set to complete a cut-price move across the Pennines to Bolton Wanderers today.

The 26-year-old is due in Bolton to open talks about the switch.

Wanderers, who are ready to exploit a buy-out clause in his contract, are confident of securing his services.

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Davies – who will be out of contract this summer and is thought to be able to move for a fee of around £300,000 – was understood also to be on the wanted list of Leicester City and Leeds United.

The probable exit of Davies, who has hit nine goals so far this season, would represent a big blow to the Championship survival hopes of the managerless and rock-bottom Reds, whose board were busy interviewing candidates for the vacant Oakwell post yesterday.

Former Doncaster Rovers boss Sean O’Driscoll, controversially sacked by Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day, is understood to have been interviewed yesterday.

Ex-Leeds and Sheffield United manager Kevin Blackwell – currently at Bury – former Sheffield Wednesday chief Gary Megson, caretaker boss David Flitcroft and one-time Oakwell favourite Neil Redfearn are others who have been linked with the post following the axing of Keith Hill last Saturday.

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Flitcroft took charge of the survival showdown with Peterborough United at London Road on New Year’s Day and will again lead the side for tomorrow’s FA Cup third-round meeting with visiting Burnley if no decision is made upon their permanent successor to Hill.

While Barnsley are preparing for life without leading marksman Davies, goalkeeper and captain Luke Steele – one of several other key players whose deals expire in June – has reiterated his desire to stay, while quelling talk he wants to leave the club.

He told the Yorkshire Post: “It’s a bit of a strange situation at the minute with the manager leaving. They are holding back on things (at the minute).

“I have had different people say to me, ‘You are leaving’ or ‘You want to leave.’ But it is complete nonsense.

“I honestly do not want to leave or sign for anybody else.

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“If I can get a contract sorted here, then I will do. That is what I really want to get sorted.

“But it is up to the club to sort it out and I am just concentrating on each game and hopefully it will all be resolved within a few weeks.”