CHARLIE Wyke is set to play at Valley Parade tonight as his expected exit from City appears to be getting nearer.

Sunderland are at the forefront of the race for the striker after tabling a second bid, claimed to be in the region of £600,000, last night.

But the Telegraph & Argus understands that Preston have also signalled their intent after making an inquiry.

Phil Parkinson remains keen on taking Wyke to Bolton but their interest is likely to hinge on the outcome of their talks with the PFA today to address the club’s recent pay issues, which saw the team refuse to play a friendly at St Mirren.

Peterborough, the first club to show their hand last week, appear to have cooled their attempts amid suggestions that Wyke would not favour that move.

Sunderland had an initial offer knocked back at the weekend but have come back in after the sale of Wahbi Khazri to Saint-Etienne yesterday afternoon freed up some cash for further recruits.

They are in the market for two front men and are also looking at Cheltenham’s Mo Eisa.

City are reluctant to comment on the latest development over Wyke. But news that another Championship club might get involved could hike up the transfer fee towards a figure that they would be prepared to seriously consider.

Wyke sat out the York friendly as a precaution with a slight knock. But he trained properly with the squad yesterday and, providing there is no reaction from his knee, is in contention to feature against Sheffield United.

Michael Collins maintains that the transfer speculation is not unsettling his players as they head into the only pre-season friendly at home.

The City head coach has been buoyed by the double loan capture of striker George Miller and midfielder Jack Payne – deals well received by fans looking for a pick-me-up in a testing 2018.

Middlesbrough forward Miller, who claimed eight goals in 19 games with relegated Bury, should add an edge that has been lacking in the penalty area.

And Payne’s credentials at this level are obvious after the Huddersfield Town player enjoyed successful loan spells last campaign.

First he starred for Oxford, with seven goals and eight assists up to January, and then he helped Blackburn to promotion back to the Championship. It was the third time he has gone up in the last four seasons.

Both players have joined the Bantams on season-long loans.

Collins said: “I've seen Jack play live on a number of occasions and he has always caught my eye.

"He's very intelligent and is always looking to get on the ball and make things happen.

"No matter what league you play in you need players who can unpick defences, and Jack certainly comes under that category.

"He also comes with a sound footballing education from the time he has spent working with David Wagner.

“George was exceptional last season at a very young age in a Bury side who were fighting for their lives.

"His infectious attitude to hard work will be a huge factor for us and he has clearly demonstrated he knows how to score goals, so we are delighted to welcome him into the club.

"With both Jack and George we have done extensive research and received glowing reports on their characters and mentality. For me, that is just as important as what they bring on the football side.”