LEE JOHNSON is urging highly-rated Barnsley defender Mason Holgate to reconsider and agree to a new contract extension.
Thus far, the 18-year-old defender, whose current deal expires next summer, has turned down the Reds’ overtures and recently spent a trial period at Manchester United, who have been linked with a £1m bid.
Several other top-flight clubs, including Aston Villa and Everton, are also reportedly monitoring developments regarding Holgate.
Despite the rumours, Johnson hopes full-back Holgate, who made his first pre-season outing as a substitute in Wednesday’s 4-0 loss to Middlesbrough, will commit his future and not be sidetracked by top-flight talk.
He said: “At the end of the day, he hasn’t gone. Like any player, we’ll use him as and when we see fit.Mason is a part of our squad and we are paying for him. We know the situation and hopefully he will change his mind and want to stay. He was never ostracised.
“We just felt within that first-team group, you want the ones who show willingness to be here. So we will see; time will tell with what happens to Mason.”
Holgate’s fellow Academy product Paul Digby has also trained with Manchester United this week, but if no moves arrive, he could feature in tomorrow’s friendly with Huddersfield.
Johnson is waiting on answers from clubs after tabling a couple of bids for strikers, while also looking at ex-Norwich City forward Simeon Jackson on trial.
He added: “It is no secret we have a couple of bids out there and if they come off, then we probably won’t require Simeon because of his style.”