Dundee United have opened contract talks with a quartet of rising stars as they bid to secure the future of their academy graduates.
Chris Mochrie and Louis Appere have been offered new deals while Lewis Neilson and Archie Meekison have been offered extensions.
But while United are hopeful they can tie down all four players soon, they will have to play the waiting game on key players Ian Harkes, Benjamin Siegrist and Jeando Fuchs.
Courts spoke last week of his desire to create a ‘special environment’ that would convince his star players to stay on.
United want to hang onto the trio – who are all out of contract in the summer.
But are aware they are attracting interest from elsewhere after playing a key role in United’s surge into third place in the Scottish Premiership.
The news that United are putting the building blocks in place to secure their academy graduates will, however, be welcomed by their fans.
Appere is highly regarded by United boss Tam Courts and started the weekend defeat to St Johnstone.
Mochrie has been used sparingly in recent weeks but made his first full start in the 2-0 defeat to Hearts earlier in the season before earning a Scotland under-21 call-up.
Neilson and Meekison haven’t featured in the Scottish Premiership this season but are regarded as highly promising as the Tannadice conveyor belt of talent rolls on.