CREWE Alexandra will step up their bid to sign Wrexham striker Juan Ugarte after missing out on Swindon's Sam Parkin.
Dario Gradi has been told Swindon are not willing to sell £500,000-rated Parkin, forcing the Alex boss to turn his attentions back to Ugarte.
It is believed Gradi has already met the out-of-contract striker twice, but he faces competition from a host of other clubs including Cardiff City, Oldham Athletic, Leeds United, Sheffield United and Doncaster Rovers.
Although Wrexham manager Denis Smith has offered Ugarte a new deal, the Spaniard's desire to test himself at a higher level means he is likely to quit the side he joined on a free transfer last November.
Gradi yesterday confirmed he is waiting to hear from two strikers who could sign by tomorrow. He refused to name his targets, but they are understood to be Ugarte, Shrewsbury's Luke Rodgers and Rochdale's Gary Holt.
Gradi said: "If the two players came, it would be a good start. One has asked to come and I have to make contact with his club, and another has said he will sign next week. We will wait and see.
"Both would be in or around my team and could play a role without being particularly big."
The only stumbling block in Crewe's bid to sign Ugarte would be over his wages, with the Alex unable to compete financially with the rival clubs who are in for the striker.
However, Ugarte is friends with Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso and a switch to Cheshire outfit Crewe would enable him to stay close to his former Real Sociedad team-mate.
* WREXHAM yesterday confirmed they will play Newry City on Monday, July 25 (7.45pm) in the first match of their tour to Northern Ireland.