Crewe Alexandra manager Steve Davis has urged Kelvin Mellor to stay at the club after the defender was linked with a move to Derby County.
Mellor has been offered a new deal by the Railwaymen, but has been mooted as a target for Derby following the sale of Jason Shackell to Burnley.
The 21-year-old only made 17 appearances for Crewe last season and, following the club's promotion to League One, Davis feels there is no rush for Mellor to step up another level.
"Kelvin's just broken into the first team in the last five or six weeks of the season, and although he did very, very well it's still very early in his career," Davis told The Sentinel.
"Although he is a late starter and we've had to wait a long time for him, he's been worth the wait. But now he's got to be patient and prove himself in League One."
Meanwhile, Davis is still waiting for winger Byron Moore to make a decision on the offer of a two-year contract after he returned for pre-season training.
Davis added: "It's part of the game we have to play unfortunately. Byron and his agent have every right to try to get the deal they can.
"I don't doubt his attitude in terms of training and playing, and we would like to keep him part of the group."