IF Wanderers are seriously entertaining the thought of selling top scorer Gary Madine with barely a day remaining in the transfer window, it is hard to imagine a bigger gamble they could take.

Cardiff City are refusing to take no for an answer in their chase for the 27-year-old target man, and the Bolton hierarchy are now bracing themselves for a fifth bid from the promotion-chasing Bluebirds.

Whether that offer is “exceptional” in the eyes of Wanderers chairman Ken Anderson remains to be seen.

Were this tug-of-war contest happening in the first week of the transfer window there would be ample time for Phil Parkinson to make provisions for Madine’s departure. But with just one full day remaining to do business, to use the manager’s own terminology is would be “crazy” to let him leave.

Madine has become integral to the gritty – if functional – style that has enabled Parkinson’s side to scrap their way out of the bottom three and recover from a terrible start.

He has reinvented himself in the eyes of Bolton fans, reached double figures two years running, and looks in the shape of his career.

By all accounts from Lostock the striker is not pushing for a move, even though it would most likely be in his financial interest. Talks to extend and improve his current contract have rumbled on for the last week or so, and rumours of serious discord between the player and the club appear to be very wide of the mark. Whether his representatives share the same view, one can only speculate.

If Madine could continue his form to the end of this season, pushing his goal return to 15, even 20, he could be demanding some serious money in the summer.

If Crystal Palace have bid £8million for Jordan Hugill – a player of comparable quality in this writer’s eyes – then that is the sort of price which could be on his head with a good year in the Championship and good will at his club.

What price destabilising the squad at this late juncture in the window? Furthermore, what position would Parkinson find himself in, having scotched the very idea of selling his striker at every available opportunity?

Supporters rejoiced at the idea of bringing Chung-Yong Lee back on loan from Crystal Palace, a deal which seemed a real step forward in Wanderers’ survival effort. Quite how the sale of their striking talisman would be viewed, you can only imagine. I only hope we do not find out.