Rotherham United plan to keep star striker Danny Ward for their League One campaign next year rather than let their prized asset leave on the cheap.
The centre-forward has been the Millers top scorer in their Championship relegation season and the club could cash in on their 12-goal hitman this summer.
But manager Paul Warne says Ward is going nowhere unless the price is right and would be delighted if the 26-year-old stays and hits the goals to fire Rotherham towards the top of the table.
“Only if an offer comes in near our valuation will we consider selling him,” the Millers boss said.
“The chairman (Tony Stewart) said that to me, so if someone comes in with a cheeky offer we will just keep him for the season and get as many goals out of him as we can.”
Stewart says that Rotherham, who are at home to Ipswich Town on Saturday, rejected more than £2 million for Ward in the January transfer window, and Warne believes the asking price should be the same at the end of the season as it was then.
“Danny hasn’t got worse since January so I would have thought his value is around the figure of what the chairman wanted before,” he said.
“I don’t think he has devalued and the chairman says we don’t need to sell, so if we can keep him on and involve him in a promotion push that would be ace.”
Ward’s contract expires in the summer but the Millers are taking up their option to extend the deal by 12 months.
Warne, who revealed that right-back Stephen Kelly’s season is over after Achilles surgery, expects clubs to come calling when the 2016/2017 campaign draws to a close early next month.
“I don’t know of any interest in Danny yet,” he said. “I think when the season finishes the phone will start ringing again. He had had a good year, playing in a poor team and scoring as many goals as he has.
“I think his overall performances have been really good and I think he will be an excellent addition to any team. But if he stays here, I would be cock-a-hoop.”
The manager dismissed fears that the Millers would have an unhappy, under-performing player on their hands if Ward does remain in South Yorkshire.
“In January everyone said that if we didn’t sell him he would down tools and I don’t think that has been the case,” Warne said. “If someone really wants to sign him, given how good he is and how young he is, I don’t think our valuation of him is extreme.
“You can’t let players rule the ship.”
Ward bagged nine goals before the turn of the year and has just returned to the scoring trail, after a 12-game barren spell, with strikes against Wigan Athletic and Birmingham City.
“It is always nice for a striker to score,” Warne added. “With Wardy, his workrate and everything he gives to the team, especially since he has been captain, is pretty admirable.
“He has been playing out of position for me. He has played wide in a four, wide in a five, up top on his own, up top in a two. He does whatever we ask.
“He is a great pro to work with, a great human being. I am glad he is scoring goals because his workrate and effort deserve that.”
Winger Anthony Forde is fit to face the Tractor Boys after a leg injury, while right-back Darnell Fisher and left midfielder Joe Newell have recovered from minor issues.
Goalkeeper Lewis Price returns to the squad but will require an operation at some stage to cure his recurring tonsillitis.
Warne has spoken to Tom Adeyemi about the prospect of the loan midfielder signing a permanent deal at New York Stadium and further talks are to be held.