Reds fear skipper exit as Rams call again

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Barnsley are believed to be on the verge of losing their captain and last season’s Player of the Year, Jason Shackell, The Star understands.

The club have received a third and improved offer from Derby County for Shackell who, despite having impressed on his debut season as the Reds’ new captain, is believed to have already agreed terms to join the Rams.

Shackell has two years left to run on a three-year contract at Oakwell and the club have already rejected two bids of £700,000 for the player.

But the Rams latest bid, which is understood to be for a similar fee - but this time with more money up front and bonuses if the club get promoted to the Premier League - is expected to see the sought-after centre-back surprisingly walk away.

A club insider told The Star: “It looks like a deal has already been done with Derby; Jason is meant to have agreed terms with them.”

However, Reds director Don Rowing has stressed the club will be doing everything in their power to keep Shackell, a player who earned the respect of many of the club’s supporters last season.

“Our fans should know that we want to keep Jason at the club. He’s a very good player and had a very good season for us,” said Rowing.

“He was a key player for us last season and has two years left to run on his contract, but a lot depends on what the player wants to do.

“The manager (Keith Hill) and Jason are expected to speak towards the end of the week, so until then we don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Shackell signed for the Reds in May 2010 and was former boss Mark Robins’ first signing at Oakwell.

The 27-year-old, a former Norwich City captain and Wolves defender, nearly played every match for the Reds last season, only missing a couple of games through injury.

However, Rowing stressed that the club had not received any other offers for Shackell despite rumoured interest from both Burnley and Portsmouth.