COVENTRY CITY have nudged ahead in the race to sign highly-rated goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos, while Hartlepool United have been hit with an increase to Andy Monkhouses suspension.

Konstantopoulos, one of Pools star performers in their promotion from League Two this season and due to have minor surgery on a throat problem today, is out of contract next month and has been attracting attention from numerous clubs.

Watford and Sheffield Wednesday have also been monitoring the situation, but Coventry are closing in on the players signature.

It has even been suggested that the Greek has agreed terms, and if he does depart the need to agree terms with his deputy, Jim Provett, will become more pressing.

Coventry tried to buy Konstantopoulos last summer, when Hartlepool are understood to have knocked back an offer for the former Greece Under-21 international.

And, despite the fact there has been a change of manager at the Ricoh Arena, Sky Blues boss Iain Dowie has maintained the clubs interest in him, with Andy Marshall the only goalkeeper at his disposal.

Konstantopoulos has loved his time at Victoria Park but is ambitious and wants to test himself at the highest level possible, Pools manager Danny Wilson hopes to retain his services.

Wilson heard yesterday that Pools will be without Monkhouse for longer than he initially thought at the start of next season.

The Football Associations Disciplinary Commission has extended the left-wingers three game ban to five after being found guilty of violent conduct at Rochdale on April 28 - when he clashed with Glenn Murray after being sent off for a spot of kung fu with John Doolan.

That means, given he has already served one of those, he will be missing from Hartlepools first four matches in League One next season.

Both clubs have also admitted charges of failing to control their players in the same fixture at Spotland, and the commission are expected to deliver their punishment at some stage today.