Burnley are considering a surprise move for Reading's former England international Andy Carroll as an emergency attacking option, 90min understands.
The Clarets have unexpectedly lost their main striker Chris Wood after relegation rivals Newcastle United triggered his £25m release clause earlier this week.
Now Burnley are scrambling for a replacement and one of those being looked at is Carroll, who in theory would be able to move Turf Moor immediately with his short-term deal with Reading set to expire this weekend.
After leaving Newcastle in the summer, Carroll - who has just turned 33 - signed for the Championship side in mid-November and has been working his way back to full fitness.
Having started five games for the Royals, the towering striker is becoming an important part of Veljko Paunovic’s side.
Carroll’s contract is due to expire this weekend after the clash with Middlesbrough on Saturday, and Reading are desperate for him to sign an extension.
“Andy Carroll is somebody we must have here in order to go through this difficult period,” Paunovic told BBC Radio Berkshire following the 7-0 thrashing by Fulham on Tuesday, in which Carroll had two stunning strikes chalked off.
“He showed his spirit, his fighting mentality, he never gave up and [showed] his qualities. We still have to improve on that and it would be massive if he stayed.
“We made him a contract offer – the best possible and now we await his response.”
However, 90min understands that a number of clubs are showing an interest in Carroll, and one of them is Burnley – who are now looking at offering him a route back to the Premier League.
Sean Dyche's side are looking at a number of options for January, with Lens midfielder Seko Fofana one of their primary targets, but up until last week they did not realise they would have to replace Wood.