Stoke City's hopes of taking Gavin Whyte on trial in January are doomed to failure, according to Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter.
The Belfast Telegraph understands the Premier League club want a closer look at the rising star in the New Year, but Baxter says the only correspondence he has had with another club regarding the teenager is with St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright - and he doesn't want his top players leaving the club for trials.
Whyte has attracted the attention of several cross-channel scouts but the boy from the Markets, who doesn't turn 19 until next month, is still on a steep learning curve after making a big impact in the Danske Bank Premiership this season.
Baxter's sole aim is to make sure speculation doesn't affect the youngster's progress and it appears highly likely the club will reject any trial requests.
"It will never happen," said the Crues boss.
"No player will be leaving our club to go to another club. That just does not happen. We don't give our players good contracts to see them go elsewhere.
"Gavin plays in big games for our football club and people can see his talent. I want to see him develop into the player he can become. We have given him the opportunity to progress and we want to stay on that course.
"There's been a lot of talk about Gavin but no-one has picked up the phone to me apart from Tommy Wright. I'm not aware of Stoke City's interest.
"I want to keep Gavin's feet on the ground and I don't want the speculation to have a negative impact on his development because we can all see he has got a lot of potential."
Baxter has bolstered his panel with the capture of striker Stephen O'Flynn from Institute and midfielder Barry Molloy from Derry City, two vastly experienced and consistent performers who should keep the Shore Road men challenging for honours at the business end of the season.
Their arrivals have inevitably sparked speculation that the exit door could spring open at Seaview, but Baxter says he's not in any rush to offload anyone.
"You have to identify areas where you need to strengthen and the two experienced boys who have been there and done it give us extra quality," said the Crues boss.
"But the club has never said to me a few players will have to leave if a few come in so it doesn't necessarily work like that. Sometimes players will move on because they want to. Players want to play and that's natural. There's not a pressing need for us to let players go but of course you never know what can happen in football."
The Crues have a massive few days coming up starting with tonight's home clash with Dungannon Swifts (7.45pm).
"It's a big week of football starting with the Swifts and then the Boxing Day game with Cliftonville," added Baxter."