Paul Cook admits Wigan Athletic are trying to tie down Michael Jacobs to a new contract as a matter of priority.
Latics have this week already succeeded in securing the services of Will Grigg to a two-year extension that will keep him at the club until the summer of 2020.
And Jacobs – who has entered the last year of his current deal, having also arrived in the summer of 2015 – is next on the ‘to do’ list.
“As a football club we don’t want to lose our best players, or see them run out of contract,” acknowledged Cook.
“I think it’s something all clubs should protect against, and I’d like to think Michael Jacobs will be the next one.
“After that, the vast majority of the players we’d want under contract would be under contract.
“Some of them, like Reece James, haven’t played a lot of football, and there’s reasons for for a lot of the players.
“But you don’t ever want to lose your best players out of contract, and that’s something we’re assessing on a daily basis.
“I just want the club to move forward and be stronger and stronger.
“But certainly, I can tell you that we’ll be looking at Michael Jacobs next.”
It’s been a case of spinning a number of plates in the air for Cook, who is breathing a huge sigh of relief Jacobs remains a Wigan player following the closing of the transfer window last week.
“It’s not a case of having done Will first, and then moving on to the next one,” the Latics boss insisted.
“From Michael’s point of view, the reason he hasn’t been offered a new deal as yet is because, during the window, if he wanted to leave, us offering him a new deal was irrelevant.
“There was no point. But now the window’s closed,we can concentrate on Michael staying a Wigan Athletic player, and we’re all delighted about that.
“As people will know, I just think Michael is a top lad as well as a top player.
“Every day he comes in he’s everything a manager would want from one of his players – on the pitch and off it.
“He’s a role model for young kids. He’s as close as you’re going to get to a model professional.”
Having been a player himself, Cook is well aware of the mindset involved as the 25-year-old considers his options at a crucial stage of his career.
“Being out of contract, I would think it would have been playing on their minds,” Cook recognised.
“For me, as a player, going into the last year could have been unsettling.
“Do lads sometimes play better football in their last year?
“Sometimes they do, it can give them that edge to play.”