BRIAN McDermott is banking on a favour from friend and former Reading boss Alan Pardew in his bid to sign Danny Simpson.
Having already landed Danny Guthrie on a free transfer from the Magpies last week, McDermott is now keen on signing 25-year-old full-back Simpson.
Pardew is being heavily linked with France's Euro 2012 star Mathieu Debuchy from Lille which could pave the way for Simpson's departure from St James' Park.
Simpson has only one year remaining on his current Newcastle contract and he has already turned down a new deal.
Royals are looking to strengthen at right-back having released ex-Toon favourite Andy Griffin, leaving Shaun Cummings as the club's only specialist in that position.
But with Fulham and QPR also said to be monitoring Simpson's situation, McDermott may need to call on Pardew's help to push through any future deal for the ex-Manchester United youngster.
When asked if he was interested in signing Salford-born Simpson, McDermott replied: "I know Danny really well and he's a good player. He's been talked about a lot but he's Newcastle United's player at the moment. We've got targets in mind and we will be pursuing those." However, it appears Reading's chances of signing Huddersfield Town hotshot Jordan Rhodes are diminishing by the week.
Royals have been chasing the 22-year-old for some time but the Observer understands they have been put off by his price tag.
The Scotland international scored 40 goals in 46 games for Terriers last season ending in promotion to the Championship.
And though Reading are willing to use ex-Huddersfield loan defender Sean Morrison as a makeweight in the deal, the West Yorkshire outfit appear reluctant to sell.
"We're aware of Jordan Rhodes but I can't see him moving in this transfer window if I'm honest," admitted McDermott.
"Huddersfield were reluctant to sell him in League One and will be even more so now that have been promoted to the Championship.
"They say they don't need to sell, though if a massive offer came in I suppose he might go. But it would be a surprise if that happened. I certainly wouldn't sell him if I was the Huddersfield manager." Guthrie's arrival means Royals will not be renewing attempts to sign Hayden Mullins permanently, after the Reading-born player spent the end of last season on loan at Madejski Stadium from cash-strapped Portsmouth.
However, McDermott is talking to QPR about a possible permanent switch for 24-year-old versatile defender Matthew Connolly who was also on loan at Reading last season.
Royals are also being linked with a string of defenders including Watford's Adrian Mariappa, QPR's Luke Young and Tottenham's Sebastien Bassong.
Hull City midfielder Robert Koren and Copenhagen striker Dame N'Doye are other possible targets.
McDermott has made three signings so far in Guthrie, Garath McCleary and Pavel Pogrebnyak, who is due to gain a UK work permit today (Thursday) before being officially unveiled.
And Royals boss hopes to complete most of his transfer business before the squad depart to Portugal on July 18 for a pre-season tour.
"We're still looking at other players and would like to get another two or three in," admitted McDermott. "Hopefully we can get them all in before we go to Portugal.
"That would give them time to meet the other players and settle in to their new surroundings." Royals officially start pre-season training at Hogwood Park today (Thursday).
"It's a clean slate for everybody," added McDermott. "We're determined to do well in the Premier League next season - and we think we can."