A number of Championship clubs are believed to be monitoring Jason Holt’s position at Sheffield United despite the existence of a ‘right to buy’ agreement between Heart of Midlothian and Bramall Lane.
Nigel Clough’s side, who qualified for the League One play-offs following Saturday’s draw with Leyton Orient, negotiated an option on the former Scotland under-21 international when he joined them on loan earlier this year.
Although both United and Holt have outlined their intention to discuss a permanent transfer during the close season, The Star understands that the midfielder’s goalscoring exploits since arriving in England have prompted several other teams to explore the possibility of hijacking that arrangement should talks stall.
Holt, who has netted five times in his last eight games, was the subject of a reported £500,000 bid from Nottingham Forest before becoming a member of Clough’s squad.
United moved seven points clear of seventh-placed Rochdale despite being held 1-1 at the Matchroom Stadium. The result means this weekend’s meeting with Chesterfield is effectively a fight for fifth place with their rivals from the Proact Stadium also assured of a top six finish.
Jason Holt, Jamie Murphy and Che Adams forced fine saves from Leyton Orient goalkeeper Alex Cisak before Mathieu Baudry edged the hosts in front. However Bob Harris, scoring for the third time since August, claimed the point United deserved and required.
Clough, who awarded teenager Dominic Calvert-Lewin his debut, said: “I thought we deserved more. The chances we created should have led to more than just a point.
“We switched off at a corner and, although it was a great header, it really should have been more. We have to be better with our finishing.”
Clough added: “A win would have meant we’d have definitely got fifth. Equally, that would have given us a little more time to prepare because we’d have known who we were facing.
“But it’s nice to be in there. We can relax and look forward to it now.”
Chesterfield, whose manager Paul Cook is the subject of interest from Portsmouth, were also confirmed in the play-offs as a result of Rochdale’s defeat at MK Dons. They trail United by two points.