CHERRIES are hoping to persuade Marc Pugh to extend his stay at the Seward Stadium after opening talks with the winger on a new contract, the club has confirmed.

Pugh has been one of Cherries’ most consistent performers this season and currently tops the goalscoring and assists charts with nine in both.

A key figure in last season’s play-off near miss, the 24-year-old was the one leading light boss Lee Bradbury managed to keep as his squad was decimated by sales over the summer.

Pugh, who joined Cherries in a £100,000 move from Hereford, has 18 months to run on his existing contract and has already been linked with Championship clubs Burnley and Barnsley.

In an article on the club website earlier this week, Cherries chairman Eddie Mitchell said he was hopeful of agreeing an extended contract with the Lancastrian.

Mitchell said: “We’ve currently put an offer to Marc. We would like to keep him and make him part of our promotion bid. We are aiming high and we would like him to be a big part of it. We put a bid to him five or six days ago now and we are hoping to hear back shortly.”

Although Pugh has yet to be quoted on the matter, he is likely to want parity with the club’s top earners should he consider signing a new deal.

Asked at a recent fans’ forum whether the club’s wage cap had increased, a response attributed to Mitchell on an official live blog of proceedings read: “No comment, but we are looking to bring in good players. Club in negotiations with Marc Pugh.”

Cherries: (from) Flahavan, Francis, Barrett, Cook, Daniels, Pugh, Arter, Gregory, Malone, Fogden, Thomas, Fletcher, Purches, Sheringham, Cooper, MacDonald, Molesley, Cummings, Jalal.

Terriers: (from) Bennett, Hunt, P Clarke, Kay, Woods, Arfield, Miller, Johnson, Roberts, Parkin, Rhodes, Bruce, Robinson, Ward, Novak, Colgan.