Bristol City interested in signing Kyle McFadzean and Liam Kelly
BRISTOL City are preparing to table a bid for inspirational Crawley defender Kyle McFadzean.
On a day of intense transfer speculation in and around Ashton Gate, it also became clear the Robins are leading the race to sign highly-rated Scotland international midfielder Liam Kelly from Kilmarnock.
And City manager Derek McInnes revealed he is also running the rule over Swiss-born Venezuela playmaker Frank Feltscher, who has joined the Championship club on a week-long trial.
But bolstering a defence that has failed to keep a clean sheet in 26 games dating back to April 21 remains the manager's priority and The Post can reveal McInnes is targeting 25-year-old Crawley centre-back McFadzean.
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A member of the Crawley team that dumped City out of the FA Cup 12 months ago, the 6ft 1in defender is under contract at the Sussex club until the end of next season.
Although Crawley boss Richie Barker wants to keep the talismanic defender at Broadfield Stadium beyond January, The Post understands a fee in the region of £500,000 could be enough to prise him away.
In the market for dominant first-ball-winning centre-halves, McInnes has also made an inquiry for Manchester United youngster Scott Wootton with a view to bringing him to Ashton Gate on loan until the end of the season.
But he would prefer to bring players in on a permanent basis and the Scot is considering making a formal offer for Yorshireman McFadzean, who has made 87 appearances and scored eight goals for Crawley.
The Robins have tabled a bid of £150,000 for 22-year-old Kelly and are awaiting a response from Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnson.
But McInnes is likely to face competition from rival clubs, with Kilmarnock keen to spark a bidding war for a player rated one of the hottest properties in the Scottish Premier League.
Kelly has previously been linked with Premier League clubs Norwich City, West Ham and Newcastle, while Championship club Derby are also reported to be showing an interest. But City boss McInnes is the first to make an offer after twice travelling north to see Kelly in action in recent weeks.
Out of contract at the end of this season, Kelly is refusing to sign a new deal and has told Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels he would rather leave now to ensure the club receives a transfer fee.
The former Milton Keynes Dons player is believed to be keen to return to England to be closer to his mother following the death of his father, who collapsed with a heart attack at Hampden Park as Kilmarnock won the Scottish Communities League Cup final against Celtic in March.
Kilmarnock value Kelly at close to £500,000, but are likely to have to accept a more realistic sum.
Recommended to McInnes by a scout, Grasshoppers raider Feltscher made a quick impact after joining City's first-team squad for training on Monday. The 24-year-old, in England while the Swiss League takes a mid-winter break, scored twice in a friendly against Forest Green Rovers' under-21 side at the club's Failand training headquarters yesterday.
McInnes refused to be drawn on whether he is considering offering Feltscher terms. He said: "At this stage, we're just having a look at him. He comes highly recommended and we'll see how he gets on."
An attacking central midfielder, Feltscher launched his career as a teenager with Grasshoppers before joining Serie A club Lecce.
He was loaned out to Swiss League side AC Bellinzona during the second half of the 2008-09 campaign. Feltscher joined Bellinzona on a permanent basis in 2009 and made 76 appearances before rejoining Grasshoppers in 2011.
Feltscher holds Venezuelan, Italian and Swiss passports. Although he represented Switzerland at under-21 level in 2007, he later played a full international for Venezuala in a friendly match against Argentina in India, rendering him ineligible for his country of birth. He has since made ten more appearances for Venezuela.
City have missed out on the chance to bring Neil Danns back for a second loan spell at Ashton Gate after the Leicester midfielder joined Championship rivals Huddersfield until the end of the season.
McInnes said: "We were in talks to re-sign him on loan, but a lot of other clubs also showed interest given his form, one in particular being in the north, closer to his family. Unfortunately, he's opted to join them. We thank him for his time with us and wish him luck for the future."