Derby boss Nigel Pearson refuses to be drawn on reports linking him with a move for Fernando Forestieri.
However, Pearson did admit he thought the Sheffield Wednesday striker was “a very good player” after watching his side edged past Grimsby in the EFL Cup.
It is understood the Rams have made a bid for Forestieri, who was Wednesday’s top scorer last season with 15 Championship goals and picked up where he left off last season on Sunday with the winning goal against Aston Villa.
After the 1-0 win on Tuesday, Pearson said: “The way I like to do business is to not comment. I don’t like people talking about my players, I think it’s disrespectful. I’ve always said exactly the same thing. I don’t believe it is appropriate for me to discuss other people’s players. If there are negotiations going on between clubs you will hear it when we get to some sort of end game, not before.”
Asked if he thought Forestieri was a good player, Pearson added: “I think he’s a very good player. Enough said.”
On the pitch, Derby needed a second-half header from captain Richard Keogh to see off Grimsby and missed a handful of other chances either side of the goal on the hour mark.
They were nearly made to pay in injury time when Scott Carson saved Shaun Pearson’s header before Kayden Jackson’s follow up was cleared off the line by Jacob Butterfield.
Then from the resulting corner goalkeeper James McKeown saw a header pushed away by Carson.
Pearson said: “I’m pleased to get through, that’s the most important thing as these ties can be tricky ; there has been a couple of upsets. They are never straight forward and the onus is always on the clubs from the higher leagues, putting you in a bit of a no-win situation. We weren’t assertive enough and I want to see us do things quicker and be a bit more ruthless and play with a bit more energy.
“Making positive decisions is important and I think we were a bit safe.” `