A summer exit for Fleetwood forward David Ball appears inevitable after one of Town’s League One rivals revealed they are among several clubs speaking to the out-of-contract striker.
The writing appears to be on the wall for Ball’s five-year stint at Highbury after Rotherham United assistant boss Richie Barker revealed the newly relegated club are one of those in discussions with Town’s top scorer.
The 27-year-old has been offered a fresh deal by Town, but with clubs believed to be battling for his services, he is now expected to end a career of 200-plus games and 49 goals at Highbury.
Barker confirmed the Millers are one of a number of clubs pursuing Ball, who is free to talk with them as his contract expires at the end of the month.
Barker says Millers boss Paul Warne has already spoken to Ball and is due to do so again to try to seal a deal.
But Warne’s assistant says other clubs are keen to lure the 14-goal forward away from the Fylde coast.
Barker said: “There are conversations that we’ve had with Ball.
“Paul Warne is due to speak to him again, I think yesterday or today, to try to move things closer. We are one of the clubs he is having conversations with.”
This term, Manchester City youth product Ball bagged his highest goal haul since joining the club from Peterborough in 2012, beating the 13 he scored in Town’s 2013-14 League Two promotion season.
That form helped fire Uwe Rosler’s Fleetwood side to a fourth-placed finish and has sparked interest from rival clubs.
Ball is not the only out-of-contract player offered a fresh deal by Town.
Full-back Conor McLaughlin is on international duty with Northern Ireland as they prepare to face Azerbajian in their World Cup qualifying clash in Baku tomorrow.
The 25-year-old is expected to make a decision about his future after his international exploits, with Championship side Barnsley reportedly keen on the right wing-back.
Town midfielder Jimmy Ryan spent most of the season on the treatment table after injuring his foot at Port Vale in November. The 28-year-old has not featured for the first team since.
He too is still to sign a new contract as are Godswill Ekpolo, Nick Haughton and Victor Nirennold.