MILLWALL boss Gary Rowett hopes Bart Bialkowski will remain with Millwall for the season – but says the club will plan or the “worst-case scenario”.
Polish international goalkeeper Bialkowski signed on a season-long loan from Ipswich in the summer, but the Tractor Boys have the option of accepting bids for him in January.
That could mean the Lions losing one of their best performers this season, if they decide not to go into a bidding war for a permanent deal for the stopper.
Millwall had set up a £900,000 move for Bialkowski in the last transfer window, before his medical showed up an issue.
The two clubs renegotiated terms, but there is no agreement for the deal to become permanent.
Bialkowski, 32, became Millwall’s first-choice goalkeeper after Frank Fielding tore his quad muscle on the opening day of the season against Preston.
Then-Lions boss Neil Harris was forced into the loan market to cover for Fielding’s loss, with Luke Steele joining from Nottingham Forest.
But Steele’s deal is only until January, when Millwall hope Fielding will be back in the first-team fold.
An added complication would be Ipswich accepting a bid for Bialkowski, who will leave the League One club in 2020.
That could leave Millwall searching for two goalkeepers in the next transfer window. Rowett is already stretched in defence with Jason McCarthy injured and the Millwall boss has hinted that he wants added cover in certain positions.
Millwall also have Ryan Sandford, but the 20-year-old goalkeeper has yet to make his senior competitive debut and is not thought of as a potential first-team player this season.
Rowett hopes the future of Bialkowski won’t become an issue in January.
“I’ve spoken to the club about one or two things but I don’t know the precise details of the agreement,” Rowett said.
“He’s a player that has done really well for us so far, he’s made some really important saves. The aim moving forward would be that he doesn’t have to make quite so many important saves. That would be our ideal plan, defensively.
“But I think as in any position you plan for the worst-case scenario which is making sure you have options in the building but also making sure you have options in the recruitment market.
“At the moment, until something like that happens, it’s something that we have to plan for but we hope we won’t need to worry about.
“That’s something I’m sure the club will deal with when the time comes.”
Image: Millwall FC