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Derby County are battling Championship rivals Huddersfield Town, Birmingham and Bristol City to sign Joe Pigott from AFC Wimbledon, according to TEAMtalk.

As Dons coach Glyn Hodges said himself last week, the first player to score at Plough Lane for 29 long years has secured ‘talisman’ status these days.

Few teams in the Football League are as reliant on one player as Wimbledon are on Pigott; an ever-improving centre-forward who has nearly scored as many goals this season as he managed in the whole of 2019/20.

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In ten League One games, Pigott has produced nine goals or assists.

So if Wimbledon can get through the January window without losing their star man, they will be forever grateful.

TEAMtalk reports that Championship quartet Birmingham, Bristol City, Huddersfield and Derby are interested.

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Phillip Cocu’s Rams fell to the bottom of the second-tier table on Saturday after a home defeat to Barnsley and no team in the league has conceded fewer than their five goals in ten matches.

It is no surprise that Derby want a striker in the winter, then, with Pigott exactly the kind of penalty-box presence Cocu likes. The 6ft 2ins targetman could replace Chris Martin at Pride Park.

“We’re pleased for Joe. He’s been the talisman, he’s got the goals over the last couple of years for us,” Hodges told London News Online last week.

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