Nottingham Forest, Cardiff and Bristol City reportedly wanted to offer Crystal Palace’s Premier League bench-warmer Connor Wickham a fresh start.

Sheffield Wednesday are set to win the race for Crystal Palace striker Connor Wickham, according to the Sun (30 January, page 54).

A former England U21 international might have been restricted to just four league starts since the beginning of 2016/17 thanks to a horrible series of long-term injury problems, but he still has plenty of admirers outside of Selhurst Park.

Cardiff, Bristol City and Nottingham Forest were all interested in signing Wickham on loan until the end of the season, offering the 26-year-old a chance to get his career back on track and play regular first-team football since his Sunderland days.

But, according to the Sun, Sheffield Wednesday are now at the front of the queue with Crystal Palace set to send Wickham to Hillsborough until the summer.

The Owls have seen their promotion charge collapse since star striker Steven Fletcher suffered an ill-timed knee injury in January, with Garry Monk’s team losing five of their last six Championship games.

Wickham, however, could fill a sizeable void in Wednesday’s front line. An old-school, 6ft 3ins targetman, he is also the kind of striker who tends to thrive under Monk; a coach who coaxed the best out of Chris Wood, Lukas Jutciewicz, Wilfried Bony and Fletcher himself.

The one-time Ipswich Town starlet, who earns £50,000-a-week at Selhurst Park and joined Palace for £8 million, was expected to join Cardiff but it seems Sheffield Wednesday are now in pole position.

In other news, Report: Leeds and Southampton linked midfielder set for Ligue 1 move