Reading boss Steve Coppell cannot guarantee that Nicky Shorey will remain a Royals player beyond tonight's transfer deadline.

West Ham are pursing the England left-back and Coppell said: "I can't say that. I can't say that about any of the players because the transfer deadline is a strange thing. But I would prefer ourselves to be predators rather than prey at this stage.

"And I do think it is just a coincidence of the fixtures. People have interpreted Shorey's desire not to negotiate a new deal in many ways. Some people think he is available for transfer but he is not.

"They faxed us an offer and we very firmly but politely declined that offer. As far as I am aware there has been no contact between the two clubs since so it's closed as far as I am concerned.

"We didn't immediately tell him because although I am always honest with players we didn't think it was a serious offer and £4million is a lot of money but it was a flier. It was as though they were thinking 'they are going to turn it down but you never know, they might be stupid to take it'.

"It is nice to be wanted. He is wanted here and I'm sure is coveted elsewhere but he is our player."