PHIL Parkinson believes Luca Connell will sit down and talk with Wanderers about a new contract once new ownership is found for the club.

A string of Premier League clubs are tracking the 17-year-old midfielder, whose rise to the first team ranks has been a rare highlight in a wretched campaign.

Offers from Southampton and Brighton were rejected in January, with Everton and Wolves now reported to be on the Republic of Ireland youth international’s trail.

Parkinson has revealed, however, that despite Connell’s youth contract expiring this summer he has not ruled out he chances of signing professionally with the club he has represented since the age of nine.

“The last dialogue I had with Luca’s agent he said if the club got new ownership and it was in a stable position that Luca and his family would love him to sit down and talk to us about a contract,” he told The Bolton News.

“But we haven’t been able to get to that situation and so you can probably understand them sitting back and waiting.”

Parkinson likens Connell’s situation to another homegrown talent, Rob Holding, who left Wanderers for Arsenal in 2016 after making 30 appearances in an ill-fated Championship campaign.

Holding pushed on to play first team football with the Gunners and lift the FA Cup. But for a knee injury sustained in December against Manchester United he was also tipped to gain England international honours this year.

Parkinson urged Connell to ensure his next decision guarantees regular football to ensure his career continues to develop.

“He has had that taste of first team football,” said the Bolton boss. “Hopefully he will stay with Bolton but if he does move on I hope it’s somewhere he will play because I always think it’s difficult when you have been in and around it to take a step back.

“He’s a mature kind of lad, his approach to the game. A few years ago when I came we had one similar – Rob Holding – who had been a shining light in a difficult season.

“Luca may not have played as many games as Rob but he has certainly shown a lot of quality.”

Connell featured from the start in Wanderers’ 4-0 defeat at Derby on Saturday, an experience Parkinson believes will have opened the teenager’s eyes to life at senior level.

“Luca is going to be a good player,” he said. “That was a tough game for him because, defensively, in the centre of midfield against teams when you don’t see a lot of the ball, you have got to deal with people making those runs around you and the communication has got to be spot on.

“It’s a different type of problem that you’d get playing midfield in an Under-18s game and it’s a big learning curve for him.”