The Football League Paper - - BIG INTERVIEW - By Tom Black­ett

BRENTFORD are fac­ing a battle to hang on to top scorer Scott Ho­gan – with West Ham lead­ing the chase to sign up the high­lyrated hit­man.

The 24-year-old has notched 14 goals in 26 games this sea­son to mark him out as one of the top strik­ers out­side the Premier League.

His blis­ter­ing pace and cool fin­ish­ing mean he is a player top-flight clubs be­lieve could do dam­age at the high­est level.

The goal-shy Ham­mers have al­ready had an £8m bid re­jected and are thought to be will­ing to of­fer £10m for the former Rochdale striker.

How­ever, the Bees value Ho­gan at £15m and will be de­ter­mined to hold out for the big­gest fee pos­si­ble.

How­ever, Ho­gan has only 18 months left on his con­tract and the Bees may feel that now is the best time to cash in on their prized as­set.

The for­ward has pre­vi­ously suf­fered two cru­ci­ate knee lig­a­ment in­juries and knows how fickle foot­ball can be.

Al­though he had pre­vi­ous been linked with Cham­pi­onship clubs, he has made it clear his aim is on the top-flight if the Bees do de­cide to sell.

Brentford man­ager Dean Smith, who has de­scribed Ho­gan as a ‘nat­u­ral goalscorer’, is aware the club may be fight­ing a los­ing battle to keep their star man.

“We do not want to lose him but we also know that if peo­ple put up the sort of num­bers that are be­ing talked about then the club would have to lis­ten,” he ad­mit­ted.

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