KEITH Hill is “confident” that Ronan Darcy will sign a professional contract to stay with Bolton Wanderers beyond the summer.

The academy graduate is back in contention for tomorrow’s game at MK Dons after missing the last three games with a foot injury.

Darcy’s future has been the subject of much speculation in the meantime – and with a string of Championship clubs thought to be taking an interest, Wanderers are keen to tie the 19-year-old down to his first senior deal.

Asked for the latest on the contract talks, Hill told The Bolton News: “I think it’s ongoing and being dealt with by Simon Marland (club secretary) and the powers that be – but as a manager I would love him to commit.

“Am I confident? Yes. I am always confident in players putting their trust in us and Ronan is a young player we can help guide.”

Ali Crawford will also be in the squad for tomorrow’s game after recovering from a knee injury which had side-lined him since the end of October.

The Scot had nailed down the playmaker role early in Hill’s tenure but the Bolton boss believes younger players like Darcy have flourished in his absence.

“There are always positives to take in negative situations and Ali has been missing – but I believe Dennis Politic and Ronan Darcy have grown, been given opportunities,” he said.

“Unfortunately Ronan has been injured for the last few weeks but hopefully he’ll pass a fitness test to be involved at the weekend.

“To have Ali and Ronan as two options going into a three-game week, that’s what I am looking at.

“They are both good players and during the period where Ronan played that block of games I think it served his confidence well, and us as a football club knowing we have a good player.

“Ali getting up to speed should give us some competition for places but I do believe they can both play in the same team.”