Gary Caldwell admits tying Stephen Warnock to a contract extension at Wigan Athletic will be one of his top priorities of the summer.
The 34-year-old has just completed a hugely-successful short-term loan at the DW, and will be a free agent when his Derby deal expires on June 30.
Warnock played in the last 11 games of the campaign following his arrival at the beginning of March, helping Latics secure the League One title and a place back in the Championship.
And Caldwell says the left-sided defender’s quality, experience and versatility would be a huge asset again next season.
“I think Stephen’s been incredible since he came in,” Caldwell told the Evening Post.
“He added something to the group that I think we needed at the time – that experience, that know-how.
“His standards every day in training have also been incredible, and that rubs off on the players around him.
“The fans have also seen him perform, and they’ve really taken to him.
“He’s somebody we’re really working on, to try and keep him at the club.”
Caldwell is also mulling over the future of right-back Reece Wabara, whose short-term deal has come to an end, as well as deciding whether to try to keep hold of loan stars Haris Vuckic (Newcastle) and Conor McAleny (Everton).
“We’ve looked into some of them, and things are starting to take shape,” the Latics chief added.
“Hopefully we’ll have a few announcements to make in the next few weeks.”