Cardiff City boss Russell Slade insists he is determined to keep star striker Kenwyne Jones, but admits the decision could well be out of his hands.
Jones made it five goals for the season with a brace against Brentford on Tuesday night including a last gasp winner after the Bluebirds had been pegged back to 2-2 once more.
Slade labelled the 31-year-old as vital to Cardiff’s hopes of keeping up their Championship play-off push.
But Jones’ contract in the Welsh capital ends next summer, meaning he is free to talk to other clubs when the January transfer window opens.
Cardiff want to keep Jones, but are set to offer the frontman, who is the club’s biggest earner with a deal worth £35,000 a week, a new contract on reduced terms.
The move comes as owner Vincent Tan cuts costs at the club and Slade admitted that despite Jones being a very difficult player to replace, financial concerns could well play a part.
“I can’t comment really on his new contract. That’s an internal matter to be negotiated with the players we wish to keep,” said Slade, whose side travel to Birmingham tomorrow night.
“I leave that to the club and hope we resolve it. Kenwyne’s a big part of what we do here. He’s playing regularly.
“To get a target man is not easy. He gives us a focal point. He’s good in the air and effective in both boxes. Those attributes are not easy to come by."
Slade added: “We do hope to hold on to our better players.
“But there’s the football decision and then there’s the financial decision. On the football side he was doing everything on Tuesday night, but we want more of it of course.
“He’s very important to us. But he’s doing everything possible to show us what we need from him.
“He’s giving a great example of what we need to do to get in the top six.”
Doubts were raised over Jones’ desire to remain at Cardiff when, despite netting a winner late on, he appeared to not even celebrate the strike at all.
Slade dismissed such suggestions though, insisting Jones had been delighted to find the net against Brentford and that he was still totally committed to the Bluebirds.
“I would not read anything into that at all,” added Slade.
“What I’ve been told is that Kenwyne has said his priority and focus is on promotion and not individual contracts.
“That’s fantastic coming from a player whose contract is up in the summer.
“He was pleased as punch he got the goals. I can assure you of that.
“Maybe he was more relieved more than anything. Maybe he was just cool about it. People react in different ways.
“He was pleased he got us over the line.”