Rotherham United are setting an ‘agree or go’ deadline for the out-of-contract players who have yet to decide whether to commit their futures to the club.
The Millers have offered new deals to midfielder Richie Smallwood, centre-half Richard Wood and left-back Joe Mattock and are warning they won’t wait forever for answers.
They are looking for decisions from all three by the end of next week as they plan for life in League One following this year’s relegation from the Championship.
“As much as they will want to move on if they don’t want to sign, we have to move on as well,” said assistant manager Richie Barker. “That point will be reached in the next week.
“At some point, we are going to have to say: ‘That’s it, that’s the offer, we need an answer quick-sharp.’ You have to draw a line under it at some point.”
The club are keen for the trio to stay at New York Stadium, with Barker hinting that the original terms on the table have been improved.
“The conversations are still ongoing,” he said. “There were negotiations where they were never going to accept the first offer and we were probably not expecting them to. I don’t think it’s a million miles away in terms of reaching an answer one way or the other.
“I am hoping we can come to an agreement with all three. I think they all have a part to play. All three have a bit of an affinity with the club. I am hopeful and positive that something will come of it.
“If we manage to get all three, we have done pretty well. If we don’t, so be it , and we will move on.
“They are entitled to speak to other clubs and see what is out there for them. No-one has an issue with that. If they decide to come back, then that is great, but we will need to give them a timespan to make a decision.”
Rotherham are chasing several striker targets as they look to begin their summer recruitment and boss Paul Warne was on a scouting mission last weekend, in Ireland and London, which included the National League Play-off Final at Wembley where Forest Green beat Tranmere Rovers 3-1.
“Both of the visits weren’t wasted,” said Barker. “No scouting trip is ever wasted, because you either come away impressed or you decide to draw a line under it.
“I think both trips were worthwhile and we gathered quite a lot of information, not only about the players we were watching but also about a couple of others. They were constructive and Warney was impressed with what he saw with both of the players.”
The Millers will be at home to South Yorkshire neighbours Barnsley in their final pre-season fixture, on Saturday July 29, kick-off 3pm.
They will split their resources on Tuesday July 18 to play to friendlies, one at Alfreton Town and the other at Gainsborough Trinity. Both matches will kick off at 7.30pm.
Meanwhile, first-team kitman Andy Willert has arranged matches at New York this Sunday to raise money for Rotherham Hospice who cared for his dad and club employee, Alan, who lost his battle against cancer earlier this year.
There will be two games, from 5.30pm onwards, and there will be a raffle and children’s face-painting.
“My dad was was 61 when he passed,” Andy said. “It’s left us devastated as a family. The hospice have been fantastic. They helped my family no end. We could never repay them, but as a community of Rotherham we can help.”
Tickets are just £2 and will be available at New York on Sunday right up to the 5.30pm start.