Wigan boss Steve Bruce has revealed he fears losing Emile Heskey for free next summer.
Heskey has yet to agree to start talks over a new deal with his current contract due to expire at the end of the season.
A number of clubs are believed to have made moves for the former Liverpool man on transfer deadline day, but Wigan were able to keep hold of the 30-year-old.
Bruce admits Heskey's contract situation is a concern and he concedes more sparkling displays for club and country would make him an attractive proposition for a host of sides.
Prerogative"Emile has 10 months to run on his contract and he is choosing to let it run down, which is his prerogative," Bruce told The Sun.
"But I don't want to lose him. We're building a decent side here and he is a big part of that.
"I haven't even thought about what might happen in January. I don't want to. But there's still hope.
"Emile was outstanding again for England against Croatia. You can bet your life Wayne Rooney enjoyed playing off him."