Rovers’ quest to add to their defensive ranks has taken a step forward – with Charlton close to admitting defeat in their battle to keep hold of Patrick Bauer.

The German, out of contract at the end of the month, has been a long-term target for Rovers who saw two bids rejected last summer.

He scored the goal that secured Charlton’s return to the Championship, in the play-off final win over Sunderland, which boosted the Addicks’ hopes of extending his stay at the club.

But the club’s head of recruitment, Steve Gallen, admits the financial offers made to Bauer elsewhere make it unlikely he will remain at The Valley.

Rovers shipped 69 goals in their 46 Championship games last season, with strengthening the backline a priority for boss Tony Mowbray.

Bauer, 26, is likely to be one of two central defensive options arrive this summer, with Rovers also tracking a younger option, despite looking at a more experienced free agent, having released Paul Downing and Jack Rodwell’s future remaining unclear.

Charlton haven’t lost all hope, but with manager Lee Bowyer also out of contract, and set to be operating on one of the division’s lowest budgets, Gallen admits it will be hard to retain the services of Bauer who signed from Maritimo in 2015.

“His agent is probably leaning on him. Pat will be thinking with his heart and his agents will be purely thinking with their heads,” he told the South London Press.

“They’ll be saying to him: ‘Charlton have made us an offer and these clubs have made these offers – which are way more. We recommend this’.

“It will come down to Pat’s decision. We would like to negotiate with Pat, but I think it is going to be a tough one – because he will be offered a lot more money to go elsewhere than he is going to get with us.

“His heart will be pulling one way, I imagine, but his head and his representatives will be pulling the other way.”

Meanwhile, James Morrison, a free agent after leaving West Brom, has been linked with a move to Rovers once again.

Mowbray signed Morrison while manager at The Hawthorns and the 33-year-old was linked last summer having initially looked set to leave West Brom.

He was handed a 12-month deal by Darren Moore, but that has since come to an end, with Morrison free to speak to other clubs.

Rovers, along with Bristol City and Reading, are said to be keen on a move for Morrison who played 24 times for the Baggies last term.

Mowbray spoke about Morrison’s recent testimonial dinner and is keen on adding experience to his side, with Stewart Downing, a free agent after leaving Middlesbrough, another target.

Rovers are in the market for a ball-playing midfielder, and initially a winger, Morrison has reverted to a more central role in recent times.