Ince only left Anfield 18 months ago for a nominal fee, but has impressed with his form at Bloomfield Road, where he has scored 13 goals in 21 games this season.

But his manager insists the two sides are not close to agreeing a transfer despite suggestions otherwise.

Appleton told BBC Radio: "I think there's been a conversation between (chairman) Karl Oyston and Liverpool about an offer.

"But as far as I'm aware, it's way below the type of money we'd expect for someone of Tom's talent."

Appleton said he would have no problem starting the youngster over the hectic Christmas period, despite the 20-year-old struggling with a hamstring injury.

"He'll continue to play as long as we hold his registration," Appleton said.

"I wouldn't say I'm resigned to losing him just yet though. There's still a lot of work that we feel has to be done before anything like that happens."

Appleton dismissed any notion the speculation might unsettle Ince, whose father Paul also played for Liverpool.

"He's a down-to-earth, sensible young lad," he said.

"Having someone like his dad in his family, who has been a footballer himself and knows the ups and downs of the game, I'm sure he'll put a decent performance in (against Wolves on Friday).

"I just want to make sure that he's fully concentrating on training and games. If he does that, I'll leave him be.

"He knows where my office is and he knows that if he wants to speak to me at any time, that's not a problem."