SEAN O’Driscoll is reportedly ready to test Doncaster Rovers’ resolve to hang on to star man Kyle Bennett.
Rovers’ former boss failed with a bid for the 21-year-old forward earlier this summer during his brief spell in charge at Crawley Town.
But according to reports in a national newspaper today, new Forest boss O’Driscoll is poised to return to Rovers with a better offer.
Rovers will be reluctant to let one of their most prized assets depart on the eve of the new season, and Saunders has made it clear he sees Bennett as a key player this term.
But O’Driscoll knows only too well his former club would find it hard to turn down any sort of substantial offer - and Bennett himself would be open to a move to the former European champions.
Balancing the books is a priority for new chief executive Gavin Baldwin, who has slashed Saunders’ wage budget by two thirds for the coming season as part of the club’s prudent new business plan.
The departures of Habib Beye, George Friend and James O’Connor have eased the pressure on Saunders somewhat to clear the decks and move on the majority of the club’s higher earners.
However, if Forest were to match Bennett’s valuation, Rovers would be unlikely to stand in the player’s way.
With Bennett’s contract due to expire next summer, Rovers are currently attempting to tie the youngster down to a new extended deal - and an offer is thought to be on the table to his agent.
However, the Free Press understands Doncaster could face a battle persuading the youngster to pen the extension.
Rovers would be due compensation next year should Bennett choose to see out his current deal at the Keepmoat and then move on.
But there might be a temptation for Saunders to cash-in on one of his most saleable assetts in the current transfer window - or in January - if Bennett continues to stall on the extension.
Rovers have also offered James Husband a new three-year deal but the highly-rated teenager is yet to pen to paper.