According to the Daily Mail, Middlesbrough are leading the race to sign reported Derby County target James Colins on a free transfer from Luton Town.

The 30-year-old striker is out of contract with Luton next month.

A report in the Telegraph in March claimed Derby and Preston North End are keen to sign him, with the Rams desperate to add to their striker options this summer.

But the latest reports claim a trio of other Championship clubs have joined the race.

Shrewsbury Town v Luton Town - Sky Bet League One
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The Daily Mail say Middlesbrough lead the way, though Bristol City and Cardiff City are also keen on Collins who scored 14 goals in all competitions this past season.

Collins has been a stalwart for Luton, helping them to promotion from League Two up to the Championship as Nathan Jones’s side finished in a safe midtable spot.

Jones dubbed him a ‘brilliant’ striker in a recent interview for Luton Today, while his rise has seen Collins become a full Republic of Ireland international.

The Irish striker could feel he has gone as far as he can at Kenilworth Road, and at 30, may be in his prime years to get the best contract of his career elsewhere.

Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock has made a striker his top priority.

Preston North End v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship
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Derby, meanwhile, were the lowest scorers in the Championship this season and manager Wayne Rooney has called on the club to start plans immediately for next season.

Rams top scorer Colin Kazim-Richards turns 35 in August, while Martyn Waghorn is out of contract next month and Jack Marriott’s future at the club remains unclear.

A new striker should also top Derby’s list of priorities and with finances tight, Luton’s Collins could represent a decent opportunity to strike a potential bargain this summer.

Also see: Report suggests Derby first-team player is set to leave club this summer

Also see: Defender wanted by Derby reportedly returns to parent club after £3m Celtic spell

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