Derby Country manager Nigel Clough feels that negotiations over a new contract are affecting Jeff Hendrick's form.
The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international has established himself in the Derby first-team this season after making his debut last April.
The 19-year-old, whose present deal runs until 2013, has started the club's last 15 games, grabbing his first goal for the club in a memorable win against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground in September.
However, Clough feels the midfielder's performances have dipped in recent weeks.
The Pride Park boss suggested that negotiations between Derby chief executive Tom Glick and the player's representatives over a new extended contract may be distracting the player from his football, much to Clough's irritation.
"I think Jeff's contract negotiations are weighing on his mind at the moment," he told the Derby Telegraph.
"The chief executive is doing the negotiation with Jeff's people. I think he has 'people' now, I think that is the phrase, isn't it?
"How many games has he played, 14 or 15? Yet, I think he has 'people' acting for him now. But I am sure they are acting in his best interests."