Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes confirmed he has opened deal talks with defender Dom Ball.
The on-loan Rotherham stopper is out of contract at the Championship side at the end of the season.
Ball, 23, will become a free agent in the summer and has indicated he would be open to signing on at the Dons.
McInnes is keen to secure the long-term future of the versatile defender, who can also operate in midfield.
Ball is coming to the end of a second season on loan at Pittodrie.
The former England Under-20 cap has started the last six games for Aberdeen, including the Scottish Cup quarter-final win at Rangers.
McInnes, whose side face Hearts tomorrow, said: “We have had an initial chat with Dom over the last few weeks about the potential of staying.
“So we will see how things go with that. But there is nothing concrete on the matter.”
Ball has operated at right-back following the absence of Shay Logan, who underwent surgery on an ankle injury.
Logan has been out since the Scottish Cup fifth-round tie with Queen of the South at Pittodrie on February 10, which the Reds won 4-1.
Right-back Logan will definitely miss the Scottish Cup semi-final against holders Celtic at Hampden on Sunday April 14.
However, McInnes is confident he will be back for post-split Premiership games – and hopefully a cup final.
McInnes said: “Shaleum is coming along all right.
“He is also chirpy as anything, which is always positive, and he is responding well to treatment.
“The Scottish Cup semi-final will come too quick for him – but he won’t be long after that.
“The plan if everything goes well he will be involved in the last few games after the split and hopefully a cup final as well at the end of the season.”
Logan and winger Gary Mackay-Steven, who has an ankle problem, are set to be the only players ruled out of tomorrow’s trip to Tynecastle.
Teenagers Lewis Ferguson, 19, and Connor McLennan, 19, both withdrew from the recent Scotland U21 training camp in Marbella due to injury.
McLennan withdrew from the squad before they flew to Spain with a knee problem.
Despite making the trip, Ferguson sat out the 0-0 draw with Mexico U22s before flying back from the Scots camp early due to a thigh problem.
However, both are set to be fit for tomorrow’s game.
McInnes said: “As we stand I am expecting only Shaleum and Gary to be missing for Saturday at Hearts.”
Defender Andy Considine is also set to return having missed the recent 1-1 draw with Livingston with a calf injury.
McInnes hopes the international break will have allowed on-loan Birmingham City attacker Greg Stewart time to recover from a hip complaint.
He said: “Greg was another one for whom the international break came at the right time as we needed to give him a week to 10 days of rest.
“Hopefully he will be okay for Saturday.
“Andy missed the game with Livingston with a tight calf but he will thankfully be okay for the game at the weekend.”
A number of Aberdeen first-team players played in the reserves’ 2-0 league win over Dundee on Tuesday – Stevie May, who scored, James Wilson, Stephen Gleeson, Mikey Devlin and recent signing Greg Halford.
McInnes said: “We had a few boys play in the U21 game with Dundee and they came through that.”