In-form winger Joe Newell is expected to commit his future to Rotherham United before the end of the regular League One season.
The Millers say they are close to a finalising a new deal with the talented 25-year-old who has been a revelation in the second half of the campaign.
Assistant manager Richie Barker reckons that, with only five matches left to play, the fourth-placed club require two more wins to guarantee their spot in the top six.
And he believes Newell, who was superb in last Saturday’s 3-2 win over Fleetwood Town, will have signed on the dotted line before the play-offs start next month.
“I think we’re close,” Barker said. “I don’t get involved in those conversations as much as I previously have, but I know the conversations have taken place and I know a deal is not a million miles away.
“Could it be done before any potential play-off campaign? I think if it’s going to get done it will be done before then. I don’t see any reason why not. I don’t think there is a great deal of negotiations left to go on.”
Newell, who took his goal tally for the season to seven by scoring against Fleetwood, will be in the Rotherham side that attempts to topple leaders Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium on Saturday.
The Millers follow that up with a long trek to Kent to take on Gillingham next Tuesday, and that could be the only reason why an announcement on a fresh Newell contract might be held up.
“I think it’s just a question of, when can we sit down and do it?” Barker said. “Obviously, coming up is the midweek game at Gillingham. It means we’re away for two or three days, which may cause a bit of an issue. But, other than that, I can’t see it being a major problem.”
Newell’s three-year deal is due to expire at the end of the season. Rotherham have an option to extend it by 12 months, but that looks like being unnecessary as new terms are so near to being agreed.
Barker took over press-conference duties today as manager Paul Warne watched midfielder Darren Potter makes his long-awaited return in the reserves’ 3-2 win over Morecambe at Roundwood after four months out with an achilles injury.
He spoke of a “match-winning” Newell performance against Fleetwood, adding: “Joe scored one goal, set up two and created numerous other chances.
“That will have done his confidence the world of good.”
Left-back Joe Mattock misses out against the Latics because of his hamstring problem, with Ben Purrington set to deputise.
Rotherham have been given an extra 200 tickets for the Wigan trip after selling more than 800 of their initial 1,000 allocation at the start of the week.