BARNSLEY are chasing former Derby County and Crewe midfielder James Bailey.
The Star understands Reds boss Keith Hill is a keen admirer of 23-year-old Bailey, who has been made available by the Rams in May having played two seasons of a three-year deal at Pride Park.
And the move would make sense with Hill still hungry to sign a creative midfield player. Midfielder Jacob Butterfield is expected to sign for Norwich City today having rejected a deal to stay at Oakwell, while the club’s pursuit of Manchester United ace Oliver Norwood proved fruitless after the player opted for Huddersfield Town.
The Reds do have options in midfield with Stephen Dawson and David Perkins having impressed in a central role.
But The Star understands Hill is keen to add more strength to his squad, with a left-footed winger and goalkeeper also on his summer shopping list.
Bollington-born Bailey started his career with Crewe in 2007 having graduated through the youth ranks at Gresty Road.
He played 46 times for the club before signing for Derby in May of 2010 in a joint £1million deal for himself and Crewe team-mate John Brayford.
And his first season with the Rams, Bailey won the club’s Young Player of the Year award. But an ankle injury early into his second season ruled the player our for three months – and he struggled to get back in the team thereafter.
And then, having played 58 games for the club, Bailey was transfer listed with a year left on his three-year contract with Rams boss Nigel Clough having deemed him surplus to requirements.
Meanwhile, the Reds’ hopes of keeping Butterfield at Oakwell were finally ended when the former Academy scholar found the chance to play in the Premier League too strong.
The Reds had offered the Bradford-born youngster an improved offer to stay at the club, but Butterfield – linked with a move to a number of other clubs – has decided his future lies with the Canaries.
Newcastle United, Sunderland, Everton and Reading were all rumored to be interested in the player.