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Joe Worrall has made his first start of pre-season for Nottingham Forest after seeing a £15million move to Brentford put on ice.

The promoted Bees targeted Worrall, 24, this month to boost their Premier League bid.

Forest were willing to cash in on their prized asset for £15m and held talks.

But Brentford, and their Danish co-director of football Rasmus Ankersen, have since prioritised Celtic's Norway stopper Kristoffer Ajer instead.

Ajer, 23, has only one year left on his contract and is available for a cut-price initial £8m rising to £13m.

Brentford's U-turn over a proposed five-year deal for Worrall saw the centre-back return to Forest's starting line-up on Tuesday night.

Joe Worrall is a stalwart at his local club Nottingham Forest after coming up through the ranks and has captained them in the past
(Image: Ross Kinnaird)

He played 62 minutes as Chris Hughton's Championship side made it three wins from three in pre-season as they beat League Two Northampton 2-0.

But Worrall could yet end up in the top-flight though if Burnley follow up their long-held interest should James Tarkowski leave as the defender is out of contract next year.

Tarkowski, who has two England caps, has previously been the subject of bids from both Leicester and West Ham who are both in Europe this season.

Burnley have signed young defender Nathan Collins from Stoke this summer but that is provide cover at both centre-back and right-back.

Forest have traditionally sold a star most summers to fund rebuilds with Matty Cash going last year.

But boss Hughton insists he doesn't expect to lose any stars imminently.

Burnley have bid for Joe Worrall previously and could come back in if James Tarkowski is sold
(Image: Offside via Getty Images)

He said: “I don’t think so. We’ve got some players who haven’t been involved who you know about. There are perhaps possibilities for them to move on.

“But at this moment, from this group here, no, I don’t think so.”

Hughton also downplayed suggestions starlet Brennan Johnson could go and said he will play at Crewe on Saturday.

Hughton's priority is bringing in new faces as he aims to mastermind a promotion bid this season after coming 17th last term.

He said: “We’re working very hard – as most clubs are. But there’s nothing definite to tell you.

“I would like to have the players who we eventually bring in now, or last week. But that’s how the market is at the moment.”

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