DONCASTER Rovers will offer new contracts to star youngsters James Husband and Kyle Bennett in a bid to hold onto two of their most prized assets.
Sean O’Driscoll is thought to have had a bid for Bennett, 21, rejected earlier this summer when he was in charge of Crawley Town.
And Rovers’ former boss - who has also been linked with a move for defender George Friend - could be tempted to return with an improved offer after taking over at Nottingham Forest last week.
Meanwhile, the impact of eighteen-year-old left back Husband - who impressed again during Tuesday night’s 2-1 friendly defeat at Rotherham - will not have got unnoticed by Premier League and Championship scouts.
Husband is under contract for another two years but Rovers want to extend his deal until the summer of 2015, while Bennett joined Doncaster on a two-year deal last summer.
Boss Dean Saunders said: “James and Kyle are both important players for us and we’re trying to tie them down on new contracts.
“We’ve got to try and protect our assets and hopefully we’ll be able to keep hold of them both.
“James played well at Rotherham but he was also at fault for one of the goals; that’s good for him because he’ll learn from it.
“Kyle’s also got bags of ability and he’s a work in progress for me.
“The pair of them have got bright futures and I want them to be a big part of what I’m trying to do here.”
Friend, meanwhile, is mulling over a contract offer from Middlesbrough after holding talks with the Teessiders at the weekend.
The Free Press also understands that Forest could be about to enter the race for his signature.
Saunders will not rush the 24-year-old into a decision but is also anxious to move some of his higher earners on with just two weeks until Rovers’ season opener against York City in the Capital One Cup.
“George is on the verge of leaving and I cannot stand in his way,” said Saunders.
“But if he goes it’ll give us a bit of room to manoeuvre.
“I need to get five or six players in - and we’ll need three new centre backs.”
James Coppinger and trialist Karl Hawley were both forced to sit out Tuesday night’s defeat at the New York Stadium but could return to the squad against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.