City sights on Platt

Bryan Gunn has turned his attentions to Colchester United striker Clive Platt after his hopes of bringing Alan Lee back to Carrow Road suffered a setback.

Bryan Gunn has turned his attentions to Colchester United striker Clive Platt after his hopes of bringing Alan Lee back to Carrow Road suffered a setback.

The City boss has been thwarted by a lack of cash at Carrow Road - two offers for Derby's Liam Dickinson have been rejected while Palace boss Neil Warnock has told Gunn to come up with an improved offer if he wants to sign Lee.

But it is understood that Gunn's sights are now set on Platt who, at 6ft 4in, fits the bill for the City boss, who has admitted that signing a target man is one of his priorities.

Platt, 31, is still under contract at Colchester, but Us boss Paul Lambert has been linked with a move for another Gunn target, Shrewsbury's Grant Holt, and may be prepared to let Platt move on two years after his predecessor Geraint Williams paid a club record �300,000 to sign him from MK Dons.

Platt has scored 18 goals in 73 starts for Colchester - including 10 in 39 starts last season - having plied his trade in the lower divisions, beginning at Walsall before moving on to Rochdale, Notts County, Peterborough and MK Dons.

Lee appeared to be the favourite to fill the vacancy up front, but while he has made no secret of his desire to return to Norwich, the lack of hard cash could scupper what could otherwise have been one of the less complicated transfer deals of the summer.

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Palace boss Neil Warnock has spoken to Gunn about Lee, but now admits that talks have stalled - and that may be the end of the matter as far as he is concerned.

“It's not close as far as I'm aware,” said Warnock. “I know he has spoken to them in the past, but I don't think there is anything going on there.”

Sources in south London say City's offer doesn't match Warnock's valuation of the 30-year-old target man, who scored twice in seven loan appearances at the end of last season.

Warnock paid Ipswich �600,000 for Lee just last August and he needs to recoup a hefty percentage of that - because Palace still owe Ipswich money on the deal.

Gunn has to spend every penny wisely and there have been reports that City's Wes Hoolahan could feature in an exchange deal, although it is understood that Warnock has cooled on the idea of signing the left winger, having already secure the services of Darren Ambrose and now setting his sights on a speedy wide man.

Lee's future is almost certain to be away from Selhurst Park, even though Warnock has attacking concerns of his own, with Shefki Kuqi reportedly turning down the offer of a new contract and Calvin Andrew out with a serious injury. His position may become clearer on Thursday when Palace have their first pre-season game, at Boreham Wood: when Warnock wanted Kuqi out of Palace he was banished to train with the youths and wasn't involved in pre-season.

Gunn may now abandon the Dickinson chase, and although Cardiff's Warren Feeney - another reported target - is available after a move to Leeds collapsed, he may not fit the bill.

City are still in the market for a goalkeeper, and it's at Palace where another possible target has arisen in the frame of Darryl Flahavan, who is set to leave Selhurst Park if Warnock brings in Stuart Nelson - who was released by Norwich last week.

Warnock needs back-up for Julian Speroni, and with Flahavan eager for regular first-team football is considering a move for Nelson.

“Darryl would like to play first team football this year so (goalkeeping coach) Jim Stannard is looking at other alternatives and I believe Stuart is one of them,” he said.

Flahavan, 30, who spent almost eight years at Southend, spent time at Leeds last season but didn't make an appearance. He has a year remaining on his contract, so Warnock would be willing to listen to offers - and that is where the sticking point could be.

Gunn has been linked with Birmingham's Colin Doyle and more recently Nick Weaver, who has been released by Charlton and is available for free.