Exclusive: Nottingham Forest, Luton, Barnsley & Preston in Jan hunt to sign Dempsey

Nottingham Forest, Preston North End, Barnsley and Luton are in the hunt to sign Gillingham captain Kyle Dempsey, Football Insider can exclusively reveal.

The 25-year-old could be lured away from Priestfield this month despite having only joined the club last summer.

A recruitment source has told Football Insider that Nottingham Forest, Preston, Barnsley and Luton are all interested in signing the centre-midfielder before next Sunday’s deadline.

Dempsey has impressed for Gillingham this season and his 20 appearances across all competitions have yielded four goals and two assists.

He joined the Gills in August following his release from Fleetwood Town but the club did not disclose the length of his contract.

A product of the Carlisle academy, Dempsey has enjoyed spells at Huddersfield, Peterborough United and Fleetwood since leaving his boyhood club.

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The English midfielder produced his best form at Carlisle in the 2014/15 campaign, his 43 appearances in League Two that year yielded a staggering 10 goals and 10 assists.

Such form attracted the interest of Huddersfield and in July 2015 he moved to the John Smith’s Stadium in a £378,000 deal.

However, the move perhaps came too soon for Dempsey as he struggled for regular game time with the Terriers.

A host of Championship clubs are now confident that the midfielder is ready to step up to the second-tier of English football again.

Preston North End are in particular need of midfielders in this window with the futures of Ben Pearson and Daniel Johnson looking increasingly uncertain.

Football Insider revealed the pair, along with teammate Ben Davies, rejected lucrative new deals at the club and look set to leave in 2021 with their contracts expiring in June.

In other news, a top pundit has said an Everton’s striker’s career is all but over following a major Sky Sports announcement.