Saturday, January 24, 2009

Doyle hoping that Hunt stays at Reading

Kevin Doyle has pleaded with Reading not to sell his Ireland team-mate Stephen Hunt to Wigan Athletic.

Hunt took a step closer to the Premier League yesterday when Wigan tabled a £5million bid for the Ireland international, and as Reading are not in action this weekend due to their FA Cup exit, a deal could be done in the next 48 hours if Wigan boss Steve Bruce can prove he's serious about signing the Waterford man.

But Hunt's team-mate with club and country has begged the Royals not to sell Hunt and to keep him on board for their promotion push, despite the arrival at Reading earlier this week of a possible replacement in fellow Irishman Jay Tabb.

"Obviously I hope that us signing Jay Tabb doesn't mean Stephen Hunt going. We need everyone, especially him as he has been one of our best players for a while," said Doyle.

But Reading's determination to hold onto winger Hunt will be tested by the cash reserves available to Wigan boss Steve Bruce, who has £15million to spend due to the sale of Wilson Palacios to Spurs earlier this week.

Wigan had been keen on Fulham's Jimmy Bullard but he is now set to join Premier League rivals Hull City in a £6m deal, so Bruce will switch his attention to Ireland man Hunt.

The Waterford native almost joined Everton in a £4m deal last summer but that fell through when the clubs failed to agree on the payment process, with Everton offering the money in installments but Reading demanded the cash up front.

Hunt now has a clause in his contract which allows him leave the Madejski Stadium if another club makes a bid in excess of £5m.

Meanwhile West Ham are poised to make a bid for Sligo Rovers' Ireland U21 star Seamus Coleman, after Everton failed to make a substantial offer. Everton reportedly made a bid of just €100,000 for Coleman but Sligo are holding out for more and that could see West Ham nab the Donegal native. Sligo chairman Michael Toolan today confirmed that Rovers had held talks with three English Premier League teams and two SPL clubs.

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