Football: Ferguson heats up hunt for Huckerby

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ALEX FERGUSON, the Manchester United manager, is trying to bring Coventry City's coveted forward, Darren Huckerby, to Old Trafford in a pounds 5m deal before the transfer deadline.

Huckerby is top of injury-hit United's wanted list to help their sagging attempt to retain the League title, and next Thursday is the transfer deadline. Ferguson has been given cash to spend by his chief executive, Martin Edwards, and the multi-talented attacker is the player he wants to add much-needed life to his forward line.

Huckerby destroyed United this season with his pace and unpredictable skills and Ferguson could do with his bubbling enthusiasm for the closing weeks of the campaign.

The former Newcastle United reserve can play down either wing or down the middle and is the kind of talent United lacked as they slipped out of Europe.

Huckerby would be a one-man forward line for Ferguson, who has doubts over Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs as he tries to beat off Arsenal for the championship.

The problem will be persuading the Coventry manager, Gordon Strachan, to sell. An earlier approach was rejected, but now Ferguson has to get his man. United have been in contact with Coventry who may be forced to move out Huckerby or Dion Dublin after their surprise FA Cup defeat by Sheffield United.

Rumours were rife that Huckerby was in Manchester yesterday discussing terms, but reliable Coventry sources revealed that he was at training in the Midlands. However, a deal could be done in the next week. Huckerby would certainly be interested in the glamour move if Coventry agree a price.

Coventry will want to tie down Dublin, a target for Blackburn, on a long- term contract before selling Huckerby. They could not risk losing both.

Strachan has spent heavily on his club's record buy Viorel Moldovan and needs to recoup some cash. He also has a surplus of forwards.