Murphy is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with a move to Rangers. Hateley would love to see the Fir Park side retain the services of the striker but expects his team-mate to be in demand. Speaking ahead of Tuesday night's game against Dundee United, he said: "He's a top player for us and has been for a number of years now. "He's coming towards the end of his contract and he's going to attract attention, whether it's from Rangers or down south or wherever.
"It's pretty inevitable that people will be interested in him.
"He's been at the top of his game and it would be a massive blow for us but it's just part and parcel of football.
"If the club can keep hold of him, I'm sure they will do their best to do that."
Meanwhile, Dundee United captain Jon Daly hopes the Terrors can defeat Motherwell on Tuesday evening and build momentum for the busy Christmas period. Victory for United at Tannadice will see the hosts climb above Well in the SPL table.
"It's always a good game and a tough game when we play Motherwell," Daly said.
"We've got two fairly similar squads; two good sides. It's normally a good game of football and hopefully we can come out on top.
"It's getting towards a busy schedule coming up to Christmas now.
"It's a good time to start putting a bit of a run together, starting winning games.
"If we can get ahead of them now, with the game in-hand as well, it will be important for us to kick on coming up to Christmas."
United won 1-0 when the sides met on November 7, but will go into Tuesday night's match without Gary Mackay-Steven, who suffered a fractured hand in the 2-1 win at Ross County on Saturday. The winger had only recently returned from knee surgery. Daly added:
"He's a big player. I'm more gutted for him. He's been out for 10 weeks, got himself back and now he's going to be out for another four to six weeks.
"It's unfortunate. He loves to play and it's frustrating for him. Hopefully he's back pretty sharp."
One blessing for United is that Mackay-Steven's injury will keep the scouts away, at least for now. The 22-year-old's contract runs until 2015 but he has been gathering plenty of attention.
"He's done enough when he's played to have people watching him and rightly so, he's a fantastic player," Daly added.
"I don't think it will be too long until he does get people sniffing about.
"But he's under contract at the club and it's obviously got to be the right bid for the club to accept."