CHAMPIONSHIP high-fliers Cardiff City are hoping to steal a march on their rivals in the race to sign Cherries striker Lewis Grabban.

Frontman Grabban last week returned to Vitality Stadium after cutting short a productive loan spell with second-tier strugglers Sunderland.

The 29-year-old hit 12 goals in 20 games for the Black Cats before the clubs mutually agreed to terminate his stay on Wearside.

His departure sparked interest from a host of Championship clubs with Wolves, Fulham, Aston Villa, Bristol City and Middlesbrough among them.

However, Cardiff appear to have jumped to the front of the queue having had positive dialogue with Cherries regarding Grabban’s availability.

Cherries are understood to favour securing a permanent move for Grabban, as opposed to a loan deal for the second half of the season.

And Grabban would certainly boost the Bluebirds’ striking resources with Neil Warnock’s team currently third and just two points off an automatic promotion place.

Meanwhile, Cherries winger Mihai Dobre is expected to be a loan target for Rochdale having spent the first half of the season with their fellow League One strugglers Bury.