BARNSLEY boss Keith Hill remains “very optimistic” that wide-man Jim O’Brien will commit his future to the Oakwell outfit for a further couple of years.
O’Brien’s June 19 deadline to put pen to paper is approaching fast, but Hill is certainly not worried that no contract has been signed just yet.
The Reds manager told the Star: “I’m not overly concerned about the situation with Jim at the moment.
“I say that because I am very optimistic that he will sign his two-year extension.
“Jim is going to be a very important player for Barnsley going forward and, although the season before last was disrupted a little too much by injuries, last season he worked hard, played well in that wide role and really became a fans’ favourite.
“I have spoken to Jim of course, and I have told him that I feel the best place for him to continue making good progress in his career is by sticking with us at Barnsley.
“I know he’s very much settled here now and, though he is weighing up one or two other options, I am confident that he will be here at Barnsley ready for the pre-season preparations.”
Former Celtic and Motherwell winger O’Brien featured 32 times for the Reds last season, scoring twice.
Meanwhile, with Hill now back in his office following a family break, the hunt for new faces resumes, although the Reds boss is happy to exercise patience.
Hill has confirmed that a potential move for Kelvin Etuhu posed “too much of a risk”, while there has been no progress regarding a pursuit of Manchester United starlet Oliver Norwood.
He has also dismissed rumours of a second bid for Bristol Rovers wide-man Mustapha Carayol, following an unsuccessful attempt back in January.
Hill appears not to have given up hope of signing Brighton skipper Gordon Greer, however.
The Reds boss said: “Gordon is exactly the type of player we want.
“He’s a strong leader on the pitch. It’s going to be a long summer, though. Lots of players of all levels of ability will be available, so we’ll see what business we can do.”