Derby make £2.5m Miller bid and Villa set sights on Knight

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The Independent Football

Derby County yesterday bid £2.5m for the Celtic striker Kenny Miller, who the Scottish champions have told is free to leave for the right money.

Billy Davies has pursued Portsmouth's David Nugent, Kenwyne Jones of Southampton and Jon Stead of Sheffield United but Miller looks the most likely option for the Derby County manager. Miller, 27, played for Wolves for five years.

Aston Villa are hoping to complete the £3.5m signing of Fulham defender Zat Knight before Friday's transfer deadline.

Birmingham-born Knight was due to have a medical with Villa last night and, providing there were no problems, he was due to become Martin O'Neill's fourth signing of the summer.

Knight signed a new three-year deal with the west London club earlier in the summer but Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez is prepared to let the 27-year-old leave after eight years at Craven Cottage.

O'Neill has wanted to bring in competition for former captain Olof Mellberg, injury worry Martin Laursen and the inexperienced Gary Cahill.

Knight was signed by Kevin Keegan for Fulham in 1999. He forced his way into the England Under-21 side with some fine displays before making his England senior debut as a replacement for Sol Campbell against the United States in Chicago in May 2005 and played 90 minutes against Colombia in New York on that tour.

O'Neill has kept tabs on Knight throughout the summer and he has come more to the fore after the Villa manager became frustrated in his attempts to sign West Bromwich defender Curtis Davies.