Back in January, we did a couple of articles about out of contract players – who was likely to be on their way and who might get a new deal. Within days, the picture had completely changed with Ando and Riggott leaving, whilst January saw plenty of other outward movement. Here’s where we are now…
January answered many of the contract questions with Ando, Riggott, Pearson, Leacock, Bywater, Martin and Cywka all leaving the club on a permanent basis. Added to that,Croft,Addisonand Maguire (who have all scored within the last week) left the club on loan. Half a squad disappeared with no adverse affect on results (which is to say we’re as inconsistent as ever). The only noticeable impact being that we had to borrow two players from Burton Albion to make a reserve team last night.
It seems like Roberts and Buxton will be offered new deals, whilst Steve Davies will no doubt trigger the “option” on his current one year deal. Conor Doyle is another out of contract by our calculations but given his age and proximity to the first team squad, I would imagine he will stay. Doyle is often criticised but it’s easy to forget that most opinions are based on the start of last season when he played a few matches. Its worth remembering that he had only been a professional footballer for about 3 weeks at that point and Clough obviously feels that he is developing.
Who knows with Paul Green? We could do a whole column on it but suffice to say the fans would like to keep him but the club seem to have other plans.
One mistake we made last time is that Crofty appears to still have another year left. Clough has mentioned him “getting something sorted for the summer” so the chances of another comeback are slim.
Which brings us onto a new category – players in their final year – a euphemism used by Clough and Glick in the past to describe players surplus to requirements. The implication being that valued players are tied up in advance (e.g. Brayford).
I’ve no idea exactly who is in this group but there are a couple of interesting situations. Firstly, Miles Addison, who it seems will move on by virtue of never being mentioned by Clough as a viable option in defence, even when the injuries are kicking in. A popular player amongst fans but didn’t get rave reviews at Barnsley. He’ll have to do something monumental to force his way back despite only getting an extension last summer.
The second one is James Bailey, who I believe is entering his last year according to Sky Sports reports a couple of months ago. Who knows what impact his contract situation has had on him being out of favour? Certainly being out of the team isn’t a great bargaining tool for the player but is for the club (not that we’re cynical enough to suggest a “£6k a week, you’re not even in the team!” conversation would happen!). With Bailey down the pecking order, its very much watch-this-space and it would be disappointing but not surprising if Clough did a Moexy on him in the summer (Palace were one of the clubs linked with Bailey in January ironically).
With Clough already talking about plans for the summer, get ready for another round of contracts any time now.