Tony Mowbray remains determined to try to convince David Wheater to sign a new contract to stay at Middlesbrough.
Wheater's current deal at The Riverside expires at the end of the season and Mowbray accepts the club face a fight to hang on to the 23-year-old.
The centre-half has regularly been linked with a return to the Premier League and Mowbray understands the allure of playing top-flight football.
However, the Boro boss will not give up in his battle to retain the home-grown stopper and does not expect the uncertainty to impact on Wheater's performances.
"I think there are envious eyes watching David," said Mowbray in the Evening Gazette. "Premier League clubs courting your players is generally not a bad thing because it means you have got a good team.
"At this moment my preference would be to tie him up to a long contract, but we wait and see how that unwinds over the next few months.
"The frustrating think is he's got so little time left on his contract, otherwise he's a real rock, a foundation we can build the club on.
"What our supporters need to know is that our desire, our wish, is that David signs a long-term contract and stays here.
"But sometimes the reality is that, where we are at the moment, if bigger fish come along and are courting David then we have to look at all aspects of where we stand and make the best decision for the football club.
"In the meantime we need David to be fully focused on his job and having got to know him over the last few weeks and knowing what he's all about I've got no fears that he will be distracted or sidetracked in any way whatsoever.
"He's a very focused young guy and I do feel he wants to play for this club and this team. But we'll see how things evolve over the next few months."