Simon Grayson says the ball is in Ben Heneghan’s court over whether the Sheffield United defender will remain a Blackpool player beyond his loan spell.
The centre-back is due to return to Bramall Lane when his loan deal ends on January 14.
That could mean the 26-year-old will play his last game for the Seasiders in this Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Reading, with Pool not back in league action until the trip to Lincoln City on January 18.
Blackpool have made it clear that they would like to sign Heneghan permanently.
But it’s been reported that they face competition from a trio of Championship clubs in the form of Luton Town, Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers, who will want to agree a cut-price deal for the defender before his contract expires in the summer.
“As I’ve said previously, we’d like to turn it into a permanent deal but it’s one of them,” Grayson told The Gazette.
“At the moment it’s expensive because he’s on Premier League wages, but it’s something we’d still like to do.
“As a player his representatives are keeping his options open to see what else is out there potentially.
“From a club’s perspective, we want to try and sign him to a longer deal.
“With Ben we’re very much in the hands of Sheffield United and potential other suitors because he’s got a recall option in the middle of January.
“We want to keep him and we’ve made everything clear in that respect.”
Grayson added: “I think Ben has been good for us. He enjoys being here and he has an option to stay here.
“We’ve spoken to Sheffield United and it’s now up to him and his representatives to decide where they’re going with this.
“We’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t stay. Do I think he’ll stay? Who knows?”
Should Heneghan choose to go elsewhere, Pool have already brought in a ready-made replacement in Jordan Thorniley from Sheffield Wednesday.
While Grayson has emphasised the 23-year-old has been brought in to add competition for places, rather than replace Heneghan or Curtis Tilt, the Pool boss believes he’s ready to make an instant impact.
“He’s a good player, a hungry player who has experienced Championship football,” the Pool boss said.
“We want to bring players to the club that can be here for a number of years and can potentially get us out of League One and can play in the Championship.
“I watched him last season quite a number of times when he was playing for Sheffield Wednesday and I spoke to a lot of people about him and we got glowing references.
“The overriding point is that he was desperate to come and that’s what we want, young and hungry players that want to contribute.
“He’s got good attributes and he will add competition for places within the group.”