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Dowie chasing top fight trio

PUBLISHED: 13:11 28 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:15 24 August 2010

LONDON - AUGUST 14:  Anthony Gardner of Tottenham in action during the Barclays Premiership match between Tottenham Hotspur and Everton at White Hart Lane on August 14, 2007 in London, England.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

LONDON - AUGUST 14: Anthony Gardner of Tottenham in action during the Barclays Premiership match between Tottenham Hotspur and Everton at White Hart Lane on August 14, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

2007 Getty Images

MARLON Harewood, Bobby Zamora and Tottenham defender Anthony Gardner have emerged as QPR's top targets, but the club are ready to abandon their attempt to bring Dan Shittu back to Loftus Road....

QPR LATEST by DAVE MCINTYRE

MARLON Harewood, Bobby Zamora and Tottenham defender Anthony Gardner have emerged as QPR's top targets, but the club are ready to abandon their attempt to bring Dan Shittu back to Loftus Road.

Rangers were this week planning to approach Aston Villa ahead of a possible bid for 28-year-old striker Harewood, who has started just one Premiership match since moving from West Ham for £4million last summer.

West Ham forward Zamora, 27, was earmarked as a potential signing some time ago and Rangers are stepping up their interest following the appointment of Iain Dowie as manager.

Dowie is an admirer of the former Tottenham man and would love to sign him if a deal can be thrashed out.

But the longstanding bid to re-sign Shittu from Watford is all but dead. Watford seem to be holding out for around £4million for the Nigeria international - far more than Rangers are willing to shell out - and other clubs are targeting him.

Shittu, who left to join the Hornets in 2006, has been linked with Glasgow giants Rangers and Celtic and a number of Premier League clubs are also interested.

That now makes it highly unlikely Watford will be forced to settle for a price of around £2million, which was what Rangers were looking to pay.

The club are now looking elsewhere for a centre-back and Gardner, 26, is currently top of their list.

Gardner has been with Tottenham for eight-and-a-half years and won an England cap in 2004, but he has been plagued by injuries and is expected to leave White Hart Lane this summer. He ended the season on loan at Everton.

With three ambitious signings in mind, Rangers have a contingency plan should their pursuit come to nothing and a number of other players have been lined up, some of whom play abroad.

Those based in England include Blackpool's Latvian centre-back Kaspars Gorkss and Leicester's Gareth McAuley.

Left-winger Wes Hoolahan, also of Blackpool, has attracted Rangers' interest but the club remain keen on Lee Cook and Plymouth's Peter Halmosi.

Highly-rated wide-man Halmosi has been a target since his fellow Hungarian Akos Buzsaky moved to west London from Plymouth last season.

Plymouth want £2.5million for him and Halmosi is wanted by several other clubs, although QPR still fancy their chances of capturing him.

As for Cook, Rangers have temporarily ended discussions with Fulham having failed to agree a fee for his return.

Hampered by a knee injury since leaving W12 last year, Cook has not appeared in a competitive match for Fulham and although QPR want him back, they are unwilling to pay the £2.5million price until he proves his long-term fitness.

A season-long loan deal is now Rangers' best chance of getting Cook back to Loftus Road. The same applies to Martin Cranie if a deal for the England Under-21 defender's permanent signing from Portsmouth cannot be agreed.

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