Russell Martin would love to keep both Cameron Jerome and Ethan Laird at Stadium MK next season but says decisions on their MK Dons futures won’t be made until the summer.
Jerome, who signed on a free transfer in October, is the Dons’ leading scorer this campaign with 16 goals to his name in all competitions while Laird has been virtually ever present in Martin’s starting XI since arriving on loan from Manchester United.
If it was up to the Dons boss, both players would be part of his squad in 2020/21 but Martin knows there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration first.
“He knows we want him to stay,” Martin said of Jerome in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet League One clash with Doncaster Rovers.
“He has been a fantastic signing for us. I know there was a lot of scepticism and cynicism when he signed, because people hadn't seen him for a few years, but he has shown how good he can be.
“That was highlighted when a good bid was tabled for him in January, but he's got on with it, got his head down and worked hard, and scored a lot of goals - that tells you a lot about him.
“I'm delighted with what he brings on and off the pitch and hopefully we'll keep him beyond this year but I cannot promise anything.
“Me and Cammy will have a sit down at the end of the season and have an honest chat. He loves it here but there are a lot of factors you have to take into account – kids, schools, the wife. His family are living quite a way away and he has to travel a lot.
"We will do all we can to keep him, though.”
On Laird’s situation, Martin said: “We love Ethan – he has been fantastic and he has only improved since he got here. He is really willing to learn, he’s coachable and he is always smiling - he brings energy and enthusiasm to the club.
“When you come from such a big club, it would be easy to come with a little bit of a chip on your shoulder, but he hasn't got any of that. He has been fantastic on and off the pitch and we love working with him.
“We're really pleased with him, as are Manchester United with how he has been treated. If we're able to keep him next season we'd be very happy but we'll have to wait and see.
“Unfortunately, when you attract good players on loan, and they do well, you run the risk of not being able to keep them for long. That's just how it is.
“Of course, conversations have already started but a lot of things will need to fall into place, and I’m sure Manchester United will want to have a really good look at him when he goes back.
“Ultimately, it comes down to Manchester United as well as Ethan and his representatives, so we'll have to see.”