Ross County are preparing for life without captain Andrew Davies as interest in Jason Naismith intensifies with Aberdeen prepared to bid for his services.
Davies is interesting Hartlepool United, close to his native Middlesbrough, and County co-manager Steven Ferguson believes he would prefer a move closer to home.
Naismith is due to give the Staggies an answer on his own future, with Aberdeen preparing a player-plus-cash offer for the former St Mirren defender, in hope they can beat English League 1 sides Sunderland and Peterborough to his services.
Ferguson expects clarity on both matters soon but accepts that Davies, who was offered a new deal following County’s relegation, likely sees his next move being away from Dingwall.
He said: “It’s more down to his mindset, looking to get back down the road just with family issues. We respect that and what he’s done over the last few years. We’re all bubbling away just now and we need to let it play out. He will know in his mind when he comes back where he’s going to be playing his football and it’s highly unlikely that it’s going to be here. But there’s nothing concrete.
“We spoke to Andrew – he was in the gym before he went on holiday. We know there’s hearsay and bits and bobs of interest from down the road and we just need to wait until he comes back next week. He’s been a good player for the club and he was captain of the cup-winning team, so he’s held in high regard.
“The indication we have been given is that he’s wanting to be close to his mum down the road. The way we’re planning is we need people in that area of the pitch – we’re comfortable with that and we’re planning accordingly.”
Plymouth Argyle and Burton Albion are also believed to be monitoring Naismith’s status. The 23-year-old is under contract until 2020 and unlike the majority of County’s squad, was not offered fresh terms following relegation to prevent him leaving on a free transfer.
Ferguson added: “It’s no surprise that clubs are interested but there’s nothing we can do until something happens. Jason will be the same as well – if it rumbles on it doesn’t benefit anyone. We will respect what his interests are and Jason understands that any offer needs to be right for the club. I don’t see any problems with that.”