A SECOND Championship side have entered the bidding for Rotherham United prize asset Matt Crooks.
A second-tier offer was already on the table and now another team have made their move for the midfielder who is in the last year of his contract at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
The Advertiser understands that the latest bid comes from a major club and is for around £750,000, with possible add-ons taking the fee as high as £1.25 million.
The offer from the other Championship side is somewhere between those two figures.
The latest development would appear to lessen the chances of the 27-year-old joining the Millers’ League One rivals Ipswich Town, who have submitted two previous offers, both of which are lower than the ones from the division above.
Rotherham manager Paul Warne said: “I spoke to the Ipswich manager (Paul Cook) last week.
“He candidly asked ‘What did I think?’, I candidly told him what I thought and they haven’t offered again.
“It is not something we’re looking to do, to lose our best assets to our competitors.
“I think, in fairness to the player and with no disrespect to Ipswich, if he was to leave here he would want Championship football. That’s what his ability deserves really.”
Second-tier teams known to be interested in Crooks include Middlesbrough, Peterborough United, Derby County and Cardiff City.
The Millers want a fee well into seven figures for the 27-year-old, signed from Northampton Town two-and-a-half years ago, and will have to factor into their negotiations the fact that the Cobblers are due a sell-on fee in the event of a sale.
They would prefer Crooks, who has been a key man during his time at New York, to see out his deal but are prepared to sell if their valuation is met.
Meanwhile, Rotherham will face one of their former targets next season.
Left-back Greg Leigh, who came close to a move to South Yorkshire from Dutch side NAC Breda last summer, has signed for promoted Morecambe after leaving Scottish side Aberdeen.