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The Irish Independent reports that Fulham have joined the race for Stephen Hunt.

Reading have accepted that the Irish winger will leave the Madjeski Stadium this summer after the Royals failed in their bid to return to the Premier League at the first attempt, losing out to Burnley in the play-off semi-final. Birmingham have expected to firm up their interest once Hunt returns from a holiday in Las Vegas, but Fulham’s move seems to have developed after Fulham scouts were sent to watch Hunt during the Republic of Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Bulgaria on Saturday.

There is likely to be serious competition from a number of Premier League sides. Everton are long-standing admirers of Hunt but were unwilling to match Reading’s £5m valuation in the January transfer window, but they were linked to the player again last week. Steve Bruce, who tried to sign Hunt when he was at Wigan, is likely to get involved in the bidding war as he seeks to strengthen his Sunderland squad with Ellis Short’s transfer war-chest.