Uncertainty surrounds the future of Stoke City midfielder Sam Clucas – a player linked with Rovers earlier in the window.

That link has been played down to the Lancashire Telegraph during what has been a quiet few weeks for incoming transfer talk.

The 30-year-old has endured an injury-hit time at the bet365 Stadium and with Stoke looking to cut the size of their squad, and wage budget, Clucas has been mentioned as a possible departure.

That would be dependant upon him finding a club by the end of this month, though his current salary level is understood to be a big stumbling block to any potential move.

Clucas was signed for £6m from Swansea City in 2018 and he has a year left to run on his Potters contract, having made 100 appearances for the club.

Only 24 of those came last season in what was a stop-start campaign for the versatile midfielder, with calf and hernia issues keeping him out of the side, but he did feature in the final seven games, with five successive starts.

His 11 goals in 2019/20 showed the quality of Clucas who started out as a wide player but has played more centrally of late.

However, he could be a casualty of Stoke’s plan to cut their wage budget with the club under big pressure to meet FFP demands.

Rovers too are more than aware of such issues, and have trimmed their own wage budget with the departure of senior players at the end of their contracts, including Corry Evans who is expected to be a target for the Potters.

A move for Clucas appears unlikely at this time however, with boss Michael O’Neill feeling the midfielder has been unfortunate.

“It’s been difficult for Sam,” he said. It’s been a bit stop-start. He had a calf injury earlier in the season and then he had hernia operation as well. But you could see what he’s about (in the final day win at Bournemouth). He has fantastic energy, fantastic running power.”