Doncaster Rovers captain Ben Whiteman has been linked with a host of Championship clubs – all of Preston North End, QPR and Watford have been named as the race heats up.

Previously on the books at Manchester United, Whiteman made his professional debut as a Sheffield United player.

He amassed eight appearances for the Blades’ first-team and spent time on loan at both Mansfield Town and Doncaster Rovers, making the latter permanent ahead of the 2018/19 season.

In his time at the Keepmoat, Whiteman has featured 158 times and scored 25 goals.

In League One this term, the 24-year-old has netted five goals in 18 appearances, and now looks set for a contested month after missing out on a move to Barnsley last summer.

He’s out-of-contract in the summer, but a cut-price January deal seems a likely outcome, and one of Preston, QPR or Watford his next destination.

Preston North End

Alex Neil has been looking to do his January business early this year – he’s already completed the loan signings of Ched Evans and Jayson Molumby, and a permanent move for Whiteman is being widely rumoured.

Seemingly the favourites, several sources have credited Preston with an interest in Whiteman including Lancashire Post, with Football Insider and The Athletic’s Adam Leventhal saying Preston are in pole position to sign the midfielder – with Ben Davies looking set for a move away this month as well, central cover might be needed.

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Lancashire Post’s Dave Seddon believes Preston’s pursuit of Whiteman could take time, and that a ‘decent sized’ transfer fee would be required, but that Preston could announce a signing today.

Liam Holden of Doncaster Free Press says there’s still a ‘major gulf’ in the two clubs’ valuation of Whiteman.

Here’s all the important tweets:

QPR

West London Sport first credited QPR with an interest in Whiteman at the end of last month. They were seemingly the first of the three mentioned clubs to have been linked with the Doncaster Rovers man, and have been closely rivalled with Preston.

The two clubs seem to be the two front-runners to sign Whiteman.

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Earlier in the week, a potential player-plus-cash deal between Rovers and QPR was being touted by fans and plenty were keen on the idea.

Lumley though has since returned to QPR amid Seny Dieng’s links to Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Leeds United, and looks set to be handed an extension of his contract which runs out in the summer.

Here’s a handful tweets on Whiteman’s links to QPR:

Watford

Watford weren’t mentioned in the race until yesterday. The Athletic’s Adam Leventhal reported that the hornets had held ‘initial discussions’ to sign Whiteman, but that Preston were the favourites ahead of QPR.

Xisco Munoz started January with the loss of Etienne Capoue to Villarreal. They’re likely to be in the market for a central player this month then, and Whiteman would be an obvious candidate. But having already held talks with Whiteman and no further news, it could suggest they’ve already dropped their interest.

Of the three linked clubs though, Preston seem to be closest to signing him and could even do so today. It’d be another huge announce for Neil, and a blow to both QPR and Watford fans.