LEE Phillips could be on verge of joining Coca-Cola League Championship promotion hopefuls Reading.

The Terras striker is being lined up by Royals manager Steve Coppell who had him watched at Carshalton on Saturday And Weymouth boss Steve Johnson today admitted it would be impossible to refuse a big money offer for the 24-year-old former Plymouth Argyle star.

He told Echosport: “Lee Phillips is an excellent player and in an ideal world I want him to remain at the club and be a key striker for many years ahead.

“But at his age, Lee’s ambition is obviously to try and get back in the professional game and I’ve told him I will do all I can to make that happen.

“If his aim is going to be achieved, now is an ideal time for big clubs to start sniffing around.

“I’ve got no doubts he has got many of the qualities needed at a higher level, such as strength, power and pace.

“Clubs always want players like that and Reading are the latest team to have a look at him.

“They came along to watch him at Carshalton on Saturday and are definitely interested in him.

“Whether anything comes of that visit, only time will tell.

“There are no bids on the table but if there were any, Lee would be informed and things would go from there.”

Johnson denied rumours Phillips has become unsettled at the Wessex Stadium and handed in a transfer request.

“I’m not sure where those rumours came from but what I can say is that there is no truth in Lee handing in a transfer request,” he said.

“If he does want to leave then I certainly don’t know about it.

But whether that is the situation in two weeks’ time, who knows?”

He added: “I had a chat with him over the weekend about his situation and all the signs were he wanted to stay.

That is what I want but, at the same time, I’m not going to stand in his way if he has a chance to progress his career.

“Lee is under contract to Weymouth and it will take a big bid for us to allow him to go.

“If Reading or anyone else offer us the right money, we’d be silly not to listen.”

Meanwhile Terras outcast Shaun Wilkinson’s loan period at Conference South rivals Havant and
Waterlooville has been extended by one month.

Havant want to extend the loan and I’m more than happy with that,” said Johnson.

“Hopefully a permanent deal can be sorted soon.”

The Terras chief said he plans to step up his search for new talent over the next couple of weeks.

One man he is stepping up his efforts to sign is Lewes’ combative midfielder Paul Kennett.

“Paul is someone I hope to sign – I’ve had one offer turned down but am hopeful of reaching an agreement with Lewes,” he said.

“Paul’s a tough-tackling midfielder, in the Wilkinson mould, but with far more quality”

• Johnson will today find out whether new loan signing Bradley Thomas will miss the Terras clash with Thurrock on January 22.

The Peterborough defender scored Weymouth’s winner at Carshalton on his debut on Saturday but was later cautioned for a foul.

Initially it was thought to be Thomas’ fifth booking of the season but Johnson is hopeful the figures
are wrong.

He explained: “There’s a bit of confusion. Some seem to think that was Bradley’s fifth booking and othershis fourth.

Bradley himself thinks it’s four but we will find out for certain later today.

“Hopefully it’s four because that means he won’t get a ban and will be okay for Thurrock.”

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