Sheffield United are pressing ahead with talks aimed at awarding Billy Sharp a new contract, The Star can reveal, despite confirming their captain triggered an extension to his present deal earlier this season.
Sharp's present agreement, which had been scheduled to expire this summer, contained a clause which automatically tied him to Bramall Lane for a further 12 months if he played league games before May.
The centre-forward, whose 17 goals have helped propel United into automatic promotion contention, reached that figure after netting twice during the recent 3-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers; a match which also saw him become the joint-highest scoring Englishman in the top four divisions since the turn of the century.
Manager Chris Wilder and his staff believe Sharp's performances, combined with his influence behind the scenes, should earn him a contract beyond the end of next term and are believed to have held exploratory talks with the 32-year-old's representative.
"He's been fantastic," Wilder replied, when asked about Sharp's future earlier this month. "He's loyal, he's committed to the football club and it goes without saying he's a hugely important figure in the dressing room."
Sharp enters Saturday's visit to second-placed Norwich City searching for his 18th goal in only 29 outings after breaking Rickie Lambert's record at Wigan Athletic on New Year's Day.
United are fourth in the Championship, three points behind Daniel Farke's side, after being beaten by Swansea City last weekend.