SHAKERS boss Richie Barker has accepted he may be unable to keep winger Mike Jones if Championship clubs come knocking on the Gigg Lane door for his signature during the January transfer window.

The 24-year-old wide man, who arrived in Bury two-and-a-half years ago as a triallist, has been a key player for Bury as they continue to punch above their weight in ninth place in League One – four points off the play-off places – and was influential in Monday’s 2-1 home win against Walsall.

Liverpool-born Jones is out of contract in summer but so far no deal has been agreed for him stay beyond then, despite other important members of Barker’s squad committing their immediate future to the club.

“We will come up with an offer for Mike,” said Barker ahead of his squad’s four-day trip to Spain as the League One programme takes a break for the FA Cup, from which his side have already been eliminated.

“The only reason I would expect Mike to leave is to go and play at a higher level – at either one of the big clubs in this division or in the Championship.

“I can’t see him being one of those people who just wants to move sideways. If he gets an opportunity to earn really good life-changing money, then it’s irrelevant what we offer him, because we can’t do that anyway.

“I’ll be sitting with him in Spain and we’ll be talking about it, but I think it’s one of those situations where, if he gets a chance, it’s difficult for us to match anyone.

“I don’t want him to move on at all. I’d like to think that if we can get through the next week, we can sit down and negotiate something with him.

“If he gets a chance to play Championship football we couldn’t stand in his way, but I really hope there are no phone calls about him.”

The trip for Barker and his men is by no means a holiday with a weekend of training also including a friendly against the part-timers of the Gibraltar national side.

“We’ve been on our training ground three times in three weeks, because of the weather,” said Barker.

“It will give us the opportunity to give a few minutes to one or two players and also to try a few things.”

l Barker has signed 24-year-old midfielder Mark Carrington – who was on a short-term contract – until the end of the season.