Published: 06:00, 19 December 2018
| Updated: 07:13, 19 December 2018
Gillingham duo Tom Eaves and Tomas Holy are not expected to sign new deals.
Both are out of contract in the summer and the pair have been in talks with the Gills.
But with no agreement reached, Gills chairman Paul Scally has publicly admitted for the first time that the only thing likely to keep them now is promotion to the Championship.
He said: “They want to try their chance at the Championship. If we could get into the Championship then they will stay with us, I am sure.
“We won’t stop trying to keep them but I applaud the fact that they want to play higher. Every player in the team should want to play in the Championship.”
Eaves is League 1’s leading scorer with 14 goals to his name while keeper Holy has become the club’s no.1 stopper after joining in January 2017 from his native Czech Republic.
The chairman continued: “Of course I would love to keep Tom Eaves, of course we have done everything we can, but it doesn’t necessarily always come down to money.
"There are many players who actually want the opportunity to play in the Championship and for that you must applaud them.
“If we aren’t successful in keeping either of them, then they will go with our blessing and our thanks. We wish them well in their future careers, as we would anyone in that situation.”
Asked if, barring promotion there was anything more the Gills could do, Mr Scally said: ”No, not at all, therefore my focus is trying to get us into the Championship.”
One player who might be about to commit his long-term future to the Gills, however, is youngster Darren Oldaker, who is in talks over a new deal.
Mr Scally said: “He wants to stay, we have talked about a contract and I am hopeful we can sign that in the next few days.”