LATICS have until tomorrow to make a decision on Sam Hart’s future, The Oldham Times understands.

Oldham want to take up the one-year option they negotiated with the left back when he signed on a free transfer last summer.

Hart had just been relegated with Southend United, who were also hoping to retain the defender’s services. However, he had told the club that he wanted to continue his career in the Football League following an approach by Latics.

Twelve months on and the 25-year-old is in a similar situation, and it is a contributing factor in the delay in Oldham releasing their retained list for next season in the National League.

As Oldham were only permitted to sign players on one-year contracts under the terms of their EFL transfer embargo, individuals that they wanted to keep were ear-marked for a further 12-month option. Goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler and defender Harrison McGahey are among them.

Sheridan has identified Hart as a player he would prefer to keep as part of a foundation on which to build a squad capable of challenging for promotion.

But Hart’s preference would be to stay in the Football League, and he has attracted interest from League One and League Two clubs, with Northampton Town particularly keen to snap up the former Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers youngster.

Northampton’s season was extended by their place in the play-offs, so nothing had progressed on the transfer front with their immediate future up in the air until Wednesday night.

Defeat to Mansfield means the Cobblers will remain in League Two next season. And while there is disappointment, having narrowly missed out on automatic promotion on the final day in freakish circumstances, Northampton are looking to mount another challenge and boss Jon Brady sees Hart as a part of that.

However, Hart’s availability as a free transfer is understood to be dependent on the co-operation of Latics’ hierarchy, with specific paperwork needing to be filed by tomorrow.

If it is not, the club risk the consequences of keeping a player against his wishes, and could potentially find themselves in a reverse situation to the one they experienced with David Wheater when they banished the defender and captain from the first team.