TOM Naylor’s future with Mansfield Town could be decided in the next fortnight as he began the first of two week-long trials today with a Championship club.
Next week the promising 20-year-old defender will have a week at a Premiership club.
Last week the Stags turned down a bid for Naylor from a League One club as it fell below their valuation of the player.
But a Championship club came in on Friday to join the Premiership club in the race for his signature, and Stags boss Paul Cox admits he expects to lose Naylor to one of them.
“We are not trying to push Tom out the back door,” he said. “Nothing could be further from the truth. We want to keep our best players and Tom comes into that category.
“If Tom moves on then we will wish him all the best – if not I will be the happiest man on the world. Tom is a manager’s dream. He does everything asked of him on the training ground. He is such an honest kid.
“Hopefully in two weeks we will have a better understanding of where we are with him.”
Stags will be looking for at least a six figure fee plus add-ons and if that happens, Cox said: “I would love to think some of that might come back down to me to strengthen the squad.
“But the chairman is very shrewd financially and if I don’t see any of it you won’t hear me complaining as I knew what I had to work with from day one. If that doesn’t change, then that doesn’t change.
Martin Riley is expected to be back in contention for a place in the televised game with Newport County on Saturday (5.15pm).
But fellow central defender John Thompson’s hopes of returning to some light training this week after an operation on those horrific facial injuries suffered at Ilkeston in pre-season were dashed when he was rushed to hospital on Friday with bleeding.
“John has suffered a bit of a relapse,” said Cox. “We need to wrap him up in cotton wool for a while and I will have a chat with him this week and see what he wants to do.”