SPECULATION is set to rumble over the next 48 hours about the future of Town striker Jon Stead.
Town have rejected three separate approaches for the 20-year-old from Blackburn Rovers - much to the delight of McAlpine fans and clearly testing the patience of Ewood manager Graeme Souness.
Rovers may return with an improved offer, however, if defender Martin `Tiny' Taylor completes his proposed £1.5m move to Birmingham before the transfer window closes finally at 5pm on Monday.
Sunderland are also refusing to give up hope, offering more cash up front in a restructured deal, so Town's resolve could be tested.
Club owner Ken Davy has to balance the virtues of a cash influx against the potential damage to Town's promotion chances should Stead move on, even for well above £1m.
"We have to balance the best interests of the club as a whole and take into account those of a player who is destined at some stage for a much higher level, so it's difficult," said Mr Davy ahead of today's match at Bristol Rovers in which Stead was due to lead the attack.
"He is our player, though, and we'll have to see what develops."
Even a substantial seven-figure offer hasn't shaken Mr Davy so far, and Souness said: "We made an offer and they didn't see it as being big enough, so that's it as far as we are concerned.
"I don't think we will go back. That is not my department, but I don't think so.
"We have a budget to work to and we've made what we think is a decent offer."
That may be a smokescreen, especially if Taylor goes and Rovers' interest in Aston Villa's Marcus Allback fades.
Former Town striker Delroy Facey has joined West Brom for £50,000 - one appearance short of another £50,000 payment to Town from Bolton Wanderers.
Ex-Town manager Mick Wadsworth does not expect to be retained by DR Congo when his contract expires tomorrow.