Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom has admitted interest for defender Alfie Mawson is growing.
The 22-year-old was at the heart of the Reds’ defence that kept 16 clean sheets last season and he has carried on in the same vein in the Championship.
The former Brentford boy has been the source of major speculation with a number of clubs in the Premier League and Championship rumoured to want to take the youngster away from Oakwell.
Bristol City – managed by former Barnsley boss Lee Johnson who bought Mawson to the club – have already seen a bid turned away earlier this summer.
Although, Heckingbottom is adamant that nobody in the squad will be sold unless an adequate replacement is found first.
“There’s interest for him and it’s fair to say that interest is growing,” revealed Heckingbottom.
“He was a League One defender last year, he’s a Championship defender this year and the longer he’s in the Championship the longer people can see what he’s about.
“There’s going to be interest and it’s expected.
“It has to be a no until you have someone to come in and replace them.
“We want the strongest possible team and we want to stay up.
“From a personal point of view I’d like to keep Alfie here forever but that’s probably not going to happen.”
The Reds travel across Yorkshire for a derby against Huddersfield today.
The two sides have had a number of memorable clashes over the years, with both sides staying up after a 2-2 draw on the final day of the season in 2013.
The unbeaten Terriers have David Wagner, who used to be Jürgen Klopp’s assistant at Dortmund, at the helm and Heckingbottom expects an exciting encounter at John Smith’s Stadium.
“This one’s an exciting one, they’ve obviously got some investment, new management, a new way of playing and we’ve come up a level to join them so it all adds to a good Yorkshire derby,” added Heckingbottom.
“There’s been lots of different scenarios in our games and we’ve always been sort of pitched at the same level.
“They’re a good side, they’re unbeaten. I actually went to Villa and watched them down there and as the game went on they got better.
“They’ve adapted well against teams so far. Against Newcastle they defended deep for the counter and against Brentford they pushed higher up the pitch.
“If the manager’s done his homework then he’ll have a plan for us.
“He’s got his own brand, he’s got his own style and you can see that in his team.”