Julian Rhodes believes City must be prepared for the prospect of losing Nahki Wells sooner rather than later.

Speculation is once again swirling surrounding the Bermuda international’s future as the next transfer window approaches.

Wells maintained his prolific goal ratio with another lethal finish at Oldham on Sunday, taking his tally to 14 for the season from 14 league starts.

James Hanson last week signed a new deal that will keep him at Valley Parade until 2017 and City would love to pin down his strike partner. But Wells has so far been reluctant to commit to talks and with 18 months of his current contract left, City cannot afford to let that run down too far if he is set to move on.

Joint-chairman Rhodes said: “We have to be prepared for all eventualities and at the moment there are three scenarios.

“Yes, Nahki might be sold; yes, he might stay to the end of the season or maybe we might be able to extend his contract.

“Now we have tied up James we would like to do the same with Nahki long term but I can’t see this happening.

“He can probably earn a lot more elsewhere, so if that’s the case and Nahki is not going to be here beyond this contract, we have to look at any offers if they come in, whether that’s in the next transfer window or the one after that.

“It would be naive not to think that the vast majority of clubs, certainly in the Football League and maybe even beyond that, might be interested in him.

“Everybody wants goal-scorers and his record is sensational.”

Wells, who was the subject of a rejected bid from Peter-borough in the summer, was unaffected by the rumours during the last transfer window – and ended up winning League One’s player of the month crown for August.

So City have no qualms that his game will dip as the focus on his position once again intensifies.

Rhodes added: “I don’t think Nahki will let anything turn his head. I don’t know him particularly but I do know what I see on a football pitch.

“He is a very confident young man with great ability and doesn’t let anything faze him.

“But you have to be pragmatic about things and the clock does tick.

“What would people think if we ended up losing him for nothing (at the end of his contract) in 18 months?

“Don’t get me wrong, if Nahki knocks on my door, Mark Lawn’s door or David Baldwin’s door in the next few days to discuss a long-term contract, then we will be more than happy to do so.

“But I’m not sure that’s going to happen. That’s football and you can’t blame him.

“Players have only got one career and they’ve got to make the most of it.”

Meanwhile, City may have to wait as long as next month before hearing the verdict from the Court of Arbitration for Sport on their Mark Stewart appeal.

City are battling FIFA’s ruling that they owe Falkirk £217,000 in compensation for the striker.