Contractual Obligations pt2 – the answer within

Hot on the heels of our “Contractual Obligations” article, Ando is first out the door with his contract cancelled. On the surface of it, it’s perfectly logical – he’s out for 3 or 4 months, then his contract runs out. However, pause for a moment and there is a hint at a change of direction.  No “let’s get him fit and look at another year”, just “goodbye”. Clough has said that Tom Naylor is a ready-made replacement and has spoke increasingly about solutions from within. Here we look at those who could go and who needs to be replaced…

Out of contract: Russell Anderson 

The new Ando:  Able to play centre or right back, not expected to play 46 games Tom Naylor

 Out of contract: Tomasz Cywka

 The new Cywka: Striker who can pull right, again not expected to play 46 games. The change of guard has already happened and Mason Bennett will begin professional life in this role.

 Out of contract: Stephen Pearson

 The new Pearo: Although earmarked to go, Pearo began the season on the edge of the first team and features in the Carling Cup. However, the emergence of Jeff Hendrick has meant that Pearo’s midfield role is a distant memory. However, he used to play a useful role out wide, which brings us on to…

 Out of contract: Dave Martin and Lee Croft

 These two have barely featured at all for two years but despite the idea that we don’t play with wingers, we have mainly played a variation on 4-4-2 since last January. Our wide options are very thin, with almost no cover for form, injury, suspension or redeployment of Ben Davies or Jamie Ward.  Aaron Cole could replace Croft and Martin for about 10% of the cost (wildly speculative figure) but in terms of the first team, we could probably do with bringing someone into the squad.

 Out of contract: Leacock, Bucko, Riggott

 The new defensive back-up-OB’s emergence a year early has immediately replaced Leacock. As for the other two, don’t rule out another year. Both would be relatively cheap and good characters to have in the squad. Josh Lelan and Stefan Gallinski have both featured for the reserves at a tender age but added to O’Brien and Naylor, we’ll still need some experienced back-up. Forgotten man Miles Addison is also due back in January, which might nudge out Bucko or Riggs.

 Out of contract: Bywater and Deeney

 The new goalkeeping cover: Already here. Fielding and Legzdins have replaced Bywater and Deeney. One or both of Atkins andSevern(both out of contract themselves) can provide further back-up.

 Out of contract: Paul Green

 The new Greenie: The majority verdict is to give him another year. I’ve no idea how generous his current deal is but on his day, he’s a great Championship player who is genuinely versatile, giving us cover where we lack it (wide right, right back). Bailey, Hendrick and Bryson may make it difficult for Green to be a regular and the returning Addisonfurther bolsters midfield options. Therefore, Green could be viewed as an expensive bit part player. Will Hughes has already been in the first team squad and despite being very young, Clough might decide that a teenage midfielder is adequate for a 4th or 5th choice midfielder (Alex Witham seems to have been overtaken here).

 Out of contract: Conor Doyle

 The new Conor Doyle: It’s easy to forget how young Doyle is as he’s been around the first team squad since he joined. However, having just turned 20, he’s more a contemporary of Ball, Hendrick et al than Maguire, Croft and Cywka. It’s still not clear what his best position is but I’d extend his contract. (Also, another player on a modest salary)

Out of contract: Gareth Roberts, Kevin Kilbane

 The new left back solution: Kilbane may already have gone but I’ve included him as he played an important role early season and will need replacing. This is one position where we definitely need to sign someone – if Robbo, Killer, Pearo and Martin all leave, I’m not even sure we have any left footers left at the club apart from Ball and Shackell. Rhys Sharp is highly rated in the youth team but only a first year scholar.

 Out of contract: Steve Davies

 The new Steve Davies: A couple of months ago, it was unthinkable that Davies wouldn’t get a new contract. However, Once again, Davies has been the victim of a freak injury. If he takes another hit in the New Year, Clough may be wondering if it’s ever going to work out…and do “an Ando” on him.

 The new Steve Davies: Callum Ball is chomping at the bit.

Conclusion: There are 15 players listed above who could go (inc. Ando). A handful may get an extension but overall, the exit door will be swinging more than the entrance. For saying we are seen as having a small squad, at least ten could go without anyone noticing.

 Only a new left back would be essential, with the possible addition of a wide man (whatever happened to Saul Halpin, the young trialist winger who scored a hat-trick against Forest reseves?)

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Posted on December 13, 2011, in General Rams Comment and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Pretty much spot on. We certainly need two left backs for next season – Roberts could get a one-year extension and I suppose the other slot depends on Sharpe’s progress, as you say.

    It is kind of exciting that you start to factor in the academy players as potential first-teamers. For as long as I can remember, it’s just felt like a bonus if a youth player breaks through, whereas now, they know they will get a chance if they show up in U’18 and reserve fixtures.

    I think Steve D will get his extension. You can’t legislate for the injury he got this time and before that, he was scoring goals. By all accounts, he worked extremely hard to get himself properly fit and can continue training whilst he rehabs from the skull fracture, so all being well, he should hit the ground running once he’s given the all-clear.

    I disagree with you on Doyle – yes, he’s cheap ($50,000 per year, reportedly), but I for one have never seen anything in him to make me believe he can make it. I should say that Tommo disagrees, having seen him play very well in the friendly at Burton last summer He feels that Doyle’s position is ‘in the hole’.

    I hope we keep Green, but as I’ve said before and you intimate here, the problem might be his wages. Somebody else might well be keen to pay him more than we can manage. On the other hand, his ‘utility’ status (cover for Brayford) might convince the powers-that-be to retain him. It would be a shame to lose such a good player.

    Wide midfield is a concern, as with Martin and Croft out of the frame, there is no cover. B Davies wouldn’t be in the team at the moment if there was anyone else and if Ward got injured, we’d have a real problem on the left. I hope they can remedy this in January.

    Another concern is Addison. He has not managed to get into the team regularly at Barnsley, so the whole idea of him going off on loan to get games and get back to his former Beast-like self has kind of gone wrong. He will return to our reserves and bench at best, unless we suffer a load more injuries. I hope he can return and get back to his best, as he could become a commanding centre back for Derby.

  2. Apart from Steve Davies and Green, I’d happily see all of those go. We are crying out for some extra creativity in the squad as we can’t rely solely on Jamie Ward to offer inspiration.

    I’ve been quite vocal in my opinion to drop Ben Davies. He’s offered us nothing of late and this description as a set-piece specialist is vastly overrated. We have pace with Ward on the left, but we need to give players an options to spray it wide as well – Ben Davies doesn’t offer that. It remains if Bennett can step up, because at present he is the only player who could fill in.

    Aside from that – we are desperate at left back.

    • Kennington Ram

      I think Green will do a job on the right wing once Brayford is back at right back. I disagree on Ben Davies freekicks and corners though, he consistently puts them in the right areas with pace and swerve, but we don’t attack them aggressively enough. But I do agree he needs dropping, sure Ward or Bailey could take a mean freekick and he’s offering little else at present.

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