MORTON manager Jim Duffy fears he could lose midfielder Joe McKee this summer — with the out-of-contract star being courted by clubs in England.

McKee was one of the Ton’s top performers last term as the club finished fifth in the Championship and his displays have attracted attention from sides at home and down south.

The Tele understands that English League Two outfit Carlisle United, managed by Keith Curle, are one of the clubs who are interested in capturing the 23-year-old’s signature.

Ton boss Duffy, though, has always been a huge admirer of McKee’s abilities and would love him to sign a new Cappielow contract.

He is content to allow the former Burnley and Bolton Wanderers man some time to consider his options but feels he might be headed for pastures new.

Speaking exclusively to the Tele, Duffy said: “I’ve spoken to Joe and offered him a new contract.

"He was terrific for us this year and the first half of last year before he got injured. He missed the first part of this season through injury but once he came into the team he was very, very consistent — a terrific footballer.

“He missed the first part of this season through injury but once he came into the team he was very, very consistent — a terrific footballer.

“I know he has two or three options and at this moment in time is considering those, both in Scotland and down south, and my guess is that Joe will probably go down south.

“But he has offers to consider, including ours, and wants a wee bit of time to do that. 

“We’ll allow him that and if he signs fantastic, if he doesn’t then we wish him well.”

Michael Miller, Stefan McCluskey and Andy McNeil are also in the process of evaluating contract offers from the Ton before making a final decision over their futures.

Duffy added: “I’ve offered contracts to Michael and Stefan. They’re just having a wee think about it so I’m just waiting on a decision from them at the moment and I’ve got no problem with that.

“Stef has been a very important player for us in the last couple of years. He does so much unselfish work, and at times I don’t think people realise how much work he does for us off the ball.

“He creates space for other players and puts in an incredible shift every game. I think he sets the tone at times for us with the way he closes defenders down as a forward.

“So he’s a very important player for us and we’d like to have him on board but I know he has at least one other option on the table and he’s just having a wee think about it.

“Sometimes as a player you’ve got to do that. You want to make sure that if you sign for a club you’re 100 per cent happy and you know you’ll have no regrets.

“Again I’ve got no problem with him just taking his time over the next week or so; there will come a time we get a decision, but at this moment there’s nothing decided yet.

“I’m confident we can get Andy McNeil signed up for next year. 

“We’ve spoken to him and there are one or two wee things just because Andy stays in Edinburgh with the travelling and stuff like that. Andy doesn’t come in every day, last year he was in one or two days a week because he has a job as well, so we’re just trying to get him in a wee bit more.

“There are one or two wee formalities but I don’t think it will be an issue and I’m very confident that will happen.”

Meanwhile, Canadian centre-half Luca Gasparotto, who spent the season on loan at Cappielow, has been released by parent club Rangers following the expiry of his Ibrox contract.