Middlesbrough captain Matthew Bates has revealed that he will delay any talks over his future until the summer.
The 25-year-old has emerged as one of the Championship's top defenders this season, helping Boro into a promotion battle.
Bates, though, is out of contract in the summer, which has led to speculation about his future with Tony Mowbray's team.
Swansea City failed with moves to land him last summer, while West Brom and local rivals Newcastle and Sunderland are keeping tabs on him as he could move for free in the summer.
Bates has now insisted that he will not look to hold any talks until the end of the season.
"I had a conversation with the gaffer and the chairman (Steve Gibson) in the same room about a month ago, speaking about a contract," said Bates.
"I just said I'd rather concentrate on my football. I thought I was in the form of my career and I didn't want anything to distract me.
"I didn't want to cause any bad blood between us by rejecting a contract or saying I want this or I want that. I just left it as 'let's speak at the end of the season and if we go up, I'll knock on your door begging for a new contract.' If not then we'll see where we go from that."
Bates admits that he has forged an excellent relationship with manager Mowbray.
"I think we've got a great relationship and he made me captain last season, just over a year ago," he continued.
"It's a learning curve for myself you know and because he's been in a situation as a captain he's helped me through it. I can't fault our relationship.
"I can speak to him about anything and I'm sure he can speak about anything with me. He knows that I'm there.
"I'm quite open, a bit too open as I'll say it as I think.
"You've got to be honest and open as a captain and a manager and I don't think you can hide anything. It's working well."
Bates who signed his current deal in 2009 has battled back from four separate cruciate knee ligament injuries to become one of Boro's most prized assets.