SAINTS are expected to table an offer to Brentford left-back Ryan Dickson today.

The 23-year-old defender is out of contract at Griffin Park this summer and is set to leave after turning down a new deal.

Alan Pardew has been tracking him for a while and Saints now look ready to make their move.

Dickson is understood to be keen on the prospect of a switch to St Mary’s.

Brentford would still like to keep hold of the player, but the London club are resigned to losing him if Saints come in.

Dickson’s contract with the Bees won’t officially run out until later this summer, but Saints are free to discuss a deal with him.

If he does sign, the two clubs will need to agree a compensation package, as Dickson is under 24-years-old.

If they are unable to do so, then a tribunal would set the fee.

Cornwall-born Dickson started his career as a trainee at Plymouth Argyle.

After a handful of appearances for the Pilgrims, he had loan spells at Torquay and Brentford.

The Bees then signed him in January 2008, with Dickson going on to become their starting left-back.

Including his loan spell with the club, Dickson has made 106 appearances for Brentford, chipping in with three goals.

He played in both of the 1-1 draws between Saints and Brentford in League One this past season.

If Dickson does join Saints in the coming weeks, he would be competing with Dan Harding for the left-back spot.

Harding was one of Saints’ most solid performers during the season and made that position his own, after joining on a free transfer last summer.

But Saints don’t have a great deal of depth in that department.

Joseph Mills, 20, filled in well on occasions over the past year, including in the 4-1 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final victory over Carlisle at Wembley when Harding filled in at right back.

But there is some debate as to whether Mills’ attacking instincts make him more suited to a midfield role than a defensive one.

Left-footed Dan Seaborne can also play there if required, but he is a centre half by nature and not a full-back.

Forgotten man Lee Molyneux can also play there, but he is nowhere near Pardew’s plans and has not appeared in a senior game for Saints since January 2009.

Saints will be keen to bolster their back line options in general, after six of the 13 players they have released were defenders.

Chris Perry, Lloyd James, Graeme Murty, Wayne Thomas, Jon Otsemobor and Olly Lancashire were all shown the door, with their deals at St Mary’s expiring this summer.