Fleetwood Town are battling it out with Blackpool and Shrewsbury Town for Barrow AFC’s out-of-contract defender Dan Jones.
The 24-year-old, who has played for Hartlepool United and Grimsby Town, was named in the National League team of the year and looks certain for a return to the EFL this summer.
Town are believed to be in pole position as loan star Harry Souttar’s return to Stoke City leaves them with two senior centre-halves.
Ash Eastham has been a constant since missing the opening day defeat to AFC Wimbledon.
Skipper Craig Morgan turns 34 next month and had an injury-hit season on his return from a lengthy lay-off at former club Wigan Athletic.
Teenager James Hill made his debut last season and versatile youngster Nathan Sheron can also feature in central defence.
With Morgan ending the season injured it would be no surprise to see Town swoop for a central defender.
However, should Jones put pen to paper on a deal with Town, it would cast doubt on the likelihood of Souttar making a return to Highbury.
While disappointed to see Jones leave the club, Bluebirds’ boss Ian Evatt believes whoever he joins will be signing a defender capable of second tier football.
He told the North West Evening Mail: “He was fantastic for us. It’s a rarity to get a defender who can do it all – he can run, he can jump, he’s physical, he’s left-footed and very good on the ball.
“He’s got an excellent opportunity to go wherever he goes with my blessing and he’ll be kicking on again.
“I genuinely think he’ll end up as a Championship player.
“But it’s lessons learned, hence why we’re offering young players two to three-year contracts now is to avoid this Dan Jones scenario.
“This club needs to be financially sustainable, to do that we need to get young assets on the pitch, so when the big fish come in we can ask what we want for them.”