Rovers will step up their contract talks with Ben Brereton and his representatives in a bid to finalise a decision over his future by the January transfer window.

Brereton scored his fifth goal of the season in the win over Millwall as Rovers moved back into the top six.

That was the 23-year-old’s first goal since the transfer window closed, with Rovers rejecting bids of up to £10m for the attacker.

Yet the Chile international is into the final year of his contract and could walk away for free next summer.

Rovers’ owners Venky’s stood firm on their valuation of close to £20m for Brereton, though that figure will decrease given he is approaching the final months of his contract.

Director of football Gregg Broughton says attempts to renegotiate with Brereton over a new deal will now resume to learn more about his future.

He said: “It’s not my money, the owners have been brilliant supporting us through the window, they have to make the big financial choices for the football club.

“We have to have ongoing negotiations with Ben and his representatives about what they see their future going, does he want to be playing in the Premier League, does he want to explore some of the many options I’m sure he’d have to play in other places in Europe as well.

“We wanted Ben to come through this international window before we started those again and those will go on over the next few weeks and then hopefully we’ll have some clarity over that situation.”

Brereton now has 35 goals in 138 appearances for Rovers since his 2018 move from Nottingham Forest.

However, Rovers are in danger of losing a £6m signing on a free transfer, having also seen first-team regulars Ryan Nyambe, Darragh Lenihan and Joe Rothwell all leave the club for nothing this summer.

Rovers have been proactive with contracts since Broughton’s appointment, and asked if the club had taken their eye off the ball previously, he said: “I can’t speak about those situations in the past, but I think even at clubs I’ve worked at in the past, you’ve always had players going to the end of their contracts.

“You always get to that crucial time, maybe even with two years not one year, where you have to make that decision, what do you want to do, what does the player want to do, how far are you on with that process?

“Ben’s rise was a steep rise, so I think it would be unfair to point the finger too firmly because not being here, but looking in externally, how many people would have gone to Ben with a huge offer two summers ago? I’m not sure.

“How many clubs would go to him with a huge offer now? Many because he deserves that on his performances.”

Broughton believes that Rovers will have ‘clarity’ over Brereton’s future by January, but admitted that he wasn’t sure that the Chile international would still be at the club when the season got under way.

However, no club ever came close to reaching Rovers’ valuation for the player, and as the deadline approached, Broughton was always confident that Brereton would stay.

He explained: “When I first came to the club, probably not, no.

“As I’ve said previously there was no enormous noise from Ben to leave the club.

“Although him and his agent were clear that if the right option came up they wanted the opportunity to explore that, he wasn’t shouting and demanding to leave the club.

“The later the window went, the less chance we felt of him leaving the club.

“There were no significant of offers until the last couple of weeks of the window, and even then they got nowhere near the owners felt the valuation of the player was, and by the way I fully support the owners on what Ben’s valuation was as well.

“Going into transfer deadline day, even though there was a lot of noise in the press about one or two clubs, we were confident that he would stay here beyond that.”

Rovers’ owners set the valuation for Brereton, but it was one that Broughton said he agreed with.

He said he would have gone to the owners to put forward a potential case to sell had any offers received have been at a level he felt represented good value, but the final decision would always rest with them.

“100 per cent. I think I’d have the power to go to them with that recommendation,” he added.

“At the end of the day, they have invested a lot of money into this football club over the years and they have to make those decisions.

“That would never be my decision as director of football, that would always be the owners’ decision.”

Adam Armstrong was sold to Southampton in the summer of 2021, Rovers’ second biggest sale in a decade.

Player trading will become a key part of the club’s model, and that is why Broughton sees contracts as a such priority to ensure that Rovers can receive the best possible fees for players.

He said: “You have to get the balance right. You won’t be able to keep every single player here at the club, and I can’t speak about the players who left before I came through the door.

“What we’ve tried to demonstrate over the last few weeks is that there is a plan, a strategy, of how to retain some of the talent.

“That doesn’t have to be someone who has played not many games for the first-team, that can be someone like John Buckley who is an established first-team player.

“Going forward, we want to have players here on contracts where we feel we can develop them and then along with the player decide what we feel is the right time for them to exit the club to hopefully give us a really good amount of money to reinvest in the first-team.”