SAINTS boss Russell Martin is hoping to keep Che Adams in January but admitted he expects the forward to attract a lot of interest.

Adams, 27, is entering the final six months of his contract and will depart on a free in the summer if he does not sign an extension.

The Scottish international steered clear of giving a committal answer on his future when asked by the Daily Echo back in September.

The former Sheffield United and Birmingham forward has since scored three goals, including two in his last two outings.

With the January window approaching, Adams has been linked with a move back to the Premier League.

Asked about the possibility of a January exit for Adams, Martin said: “I hope we keep him because he is a good human being and he is a really good player.

"He’s played a bit more freely in the last few games which is nice. He feels things a lot and he cares.

"He wants to be seen in a certain way. He gives everything in training and he is a brilliant character.

“It does weigh heavily on him when he doesn’t play or he doesn’t score because he cares. It’s about getting him back to a place where he can do his stuff.

“There are so many different factors - he has six months left on his contract and there will be a lot of people interested in him because of the quality he has.

“I’m sure his agent will have one view of it, I’ve got one view of it and the ownership will have a different view if an offer comes in that is too good for them to refuse.

“I can’t give a definitive answer, but we are prepared for whatever comes if he is here at the end of the window. If he isn’t, I’m sure we will have replaced him."

Daily Echo:

Southampton's CEO Phil Parsons recently revealed that the board will not "gamble the future of the club" ahead of the transfer window opening.

He told the club media: "In the new year myself, Russell (Martin), Jason (Wilcox) and our owners, Sport Republic, will all be trying to keep the squad as stable as possible to keep the momentum going in the right direction.

"We will continue to make sure the club is financially safe and won't gamble the future of the club by spending over the odds on players, especially given the constraints of Financial Fair Play."

Speaking on Friday, Martin added: “We are prepared. The wheels are truly in motion for what we are trying to do.

"I don’t think you can do any more than that. The rest is on the other clubs and potential movement here.

“We have spent a lot of hours over the last two months trying to prepare for what is thrown up.”

Asked if there is a possibility for Southampton to recall any players who are currently out on loan, Martin was clear, saying: “No, I don’t think so.”