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West Brom keeping an eye on Nikica Jelavic

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West Bromwich Albion were today on alert for a possible January transfer scramble for Nikica Jelavic after Roy Hodgson made a personal check on the Rangers striker.

West Bromwich Albion were today on alert for a possible January transfer scramble for Nikica Jelavic after Roy Hodgson made a personal check on the Rangers striker.

Hodgson was at Celtic Park last night to see the Croatia international in action in the Gers' 1-0 Old Firm derby defeat.

And Rangers boss Ally McCoist hinted the Glasgow club could consider a January sale of their leading scorer, who has been on the Baggies' transfer radar for more than two years.

But Albion could face stiff competition if Hodgson chooses to pursue an interest, with QPR boss Neil Warnock armed with a transfer war-chest and reportedly willing to allocate a large chunk of his funds on 26-year-old Jelavic. And the Baggies are unlikely to bid close to the £8-9m asking price Rangers are said to want for the former Rapid Vienna hitman.

Albion watched Jelavic closely in the summer of 2010 and considered a move as they constructed a squad for their return to the Premier League.

They opted to sign Peter Odemwingie from Lokomotiv Moscow instead with Jelavic moving from Vienna to Ibrox in a £4m switch but Albion have continued to monitor his progress.

He has hit 33 goals in 50 appearances for Rangers but the defending SPL champions now look set to cash in on him in the January transfer window.

McCoist last night insisted he did not want to lose his leading scorer but his answers during a post-match television interview hinted that the club's owners might take the decision out of his hands. "What will happen, will happen," he said. "Nikica is one of our top players and the fact he is our top scorer tells you that. He is pivotal to our team and I wouldn't want to lose anyone like that."

McCoist played down reports that QPR had lodged a formal bid but he admitted rumours of an impending offer from Loftus Road had reached Ibrox.

A natural targetman is on Hodgson's shopping list with both Roman Bednar and Marc-Antoine Fortune having struggled to convince.

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