OWEN Coyle wants ‘confident kid’ Connor Mahoney to stay at Blackburn Rovers, but says talks over a new deal are in the hands of Director of Football Operations Paul Senior.

Coyle hopes the club can secure Mahoney’s long-term future, but the winger is yet to sign the fresh contract offered to him and sees his current deal expire in the summer.

Mahoney is expected to be in the squad for today’s trip to Rotherham United having come off the bench in two of Rovers’ last three outings.

Coyle says the player, who turns 20 tomorrow, is set for a bright future, one he wants to be at Ewood Park. 

“Connor is one that we want to keep at the club,” Coyle said.

“Since coming in, Paul Senior has dealt with all transfers in terms of players coming in and going out and in terms of liaising with the owners.

“I’ve presented the players I’d like and the work we’ve done, and then Paul, in conjunction with the owners, has tried to conclude those.

“It’s with Paul to continue chatting with Connor’s agent to try and see if we can get an agreement that will keep the kid here.”

Mahoney joined Rovers in 2013 from neighbours Accrington Stanley and signed his first professional contract on his 17th birthday in February 2014.

By that stage he had already made his Rovers bow, becoming the club’s third youngest ever debutant at 16 years and 337 days when he came on in the FA Cup third round replay defeat to Manchester City in January 2014.

He has been a regular in the matchday squads this season, but his impressive cameo against QPR last weekend was his first Championship outing of the season, adding to six cup appearances.

But Coyle is a firm believer in Mahoney’s talents and insists he can become a fixture in the Rovers set-up moving forward.

“What I’ve said from the outset, I really believe in him,” Coyle added.

“We have had to build him up, physically and mentally, to make sure he’s ready for the challenges of the Championship.

“He’s always been about the squad, he came on against Blackpool and QPR, and if I had to start Connor then I would have no fears about doing that.

“He has the tools and the ability to do that.

“He’s a confident kid which I like, he’s prepared to get kicked, he takes players on and shows that bravery to run at people and take them on.

“He’s going to have an exciting future and comes on the back of the (Darragh) Lenihans and (Ryan) Nyambes who we have promoted and have done well.

“He’s another in that mould.”

Rovers have already signed youngsters Jack Doyle, Connor Thomson and Joe Rankin-Costello to long-term deals so far this season, and hope to add Mahoney to the list. 

Barnsley have been linked with a potential summer move for him, though were he to leave at the end of his contract Rovers would be due compensation for his services due to being under the age of 23.

Any club wanting to sign Mahoney would have to agree a fee with Rovers for Mahoney or see the decision go to an independent tribunal.