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I know people will cry 'this season isn't over yet!' (save your breath), but good football clubs are planning years in advance, and it's fun to speculate.

How do we approach the 2021 summer? Do we continue with the same core of players, and titivate the sides? Or do we go for root and branch reform, with a new coach.

A reminder of the new rules:

1) Squad can only include 20 (down from 22) players over the age of 21

2) Any new contract now contributes to the salary cap of £1.5m. This is an average salary of £75,000 per player (of the 20), or £1,442 per week.

From my lazy research/memory, this is the contract situation. Please point out where I've messed up:

Out of Contract in summer 2021

GK: Brown, Visser

Def: Brisley, Legge, Crooks, Montano, Mills, Fitzpatrick, RCG

Mid: Joyce, DTS (not registered), Manny, McKirdy (not registered), Hurst, 

Forw: Pope, Guthrie, Cullen

Under Contract through the 2021 season

GK:

Def: Gibbons, Smith, 

Mid: Worrall, Amoo, Conlon, Taylor, Whitehead, Burgess

Forw: Rodney, Robinson (not registered)

 

Unless I'm wrong, we have 9 players signed up through the 2021 season (excluding Robinson). I've not included the young trio of Bailey, Lennon, and Chambers as I have no idea if they're currently on professional contracts or not.

My first thought is we have a good core of players tied down; Gibbons, Smith, Conlon, Taylor, and Rodney provides a youthful core, and Worrall is obviously a good player. Burgess and Amoo are reasonable squad players who would contribute to most sides at this level. I would hope we can come to some form of settlement with Whitehead and Robinson will be gone.

The question is then; who do we offer terms to of the 'out of contract' lads? Do the veterans such as Brown, Legge, Joyce, and Pope get another 1-year contract? Do the injury prone players (Cullen, Manny, and to a lesser extent Monty) get another year? Do we go full rebuild and release the lot? Do we trust the recruitment structure?

I know a lot can, and will, change in the next 6 months but I'm bored and locked down so though it would provide a fun exercise. Remember, the likes of Brown, Legge, Joyce, and Pope will be on more than the salary cap average, and would most likely need to accept lower terms if offered a deal at all.

Any thoughts? Who to renew? What positions to target in the summer? Any potential signings? Will Pugh, as a 'continuity appointment', result in more extensions as opposed to an external appointment with a fresh set of eyes? Do we opt for youth, probably cheaper, with the salary cap restrictions and shift away from the oldest 11 in the league we currently utilise?

Edited by Joe B
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Monty involved in 30+ games for the last 5 seasons. Is unfairly bracketed with Manny, and definitely one to keep for both his versatility and creativity - something we desperately need more of.

Second highest scorer when he's been on the wings, keeping natural full-backs out of the team when he's been played out of position at left-back. All round good egg. Certainly one to keep for me.

After Carols interview, I'm beginning to feel more positive about the season to come. A new manager with positive ideas, coming into a massive summer for us with basically a clean slate and squad. A

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I'd keep Brown, Montano, Joyce and probably one of Pope or Guthrie depending how this season goes. Probably try and keep Pope anyway for sentimental reasons.

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Jury's out on Guthrie until he's played a few, but I'd happily release all of the others based on this seasons performances in general. Get a much younger core with the potential to play higher (easier said than done I know) by scouring the players released by PL and Championship academies. I'm sick to death of the same tired old journeymen brought in under the guise of them being 'proven L2 players', who largely only play in L2 for a reason.

I'd also try to move on both Whitehead, Robinson and amoo.

My main fear re pugh is that if he's in charge when renewal time comes around, it will be a jobs for the boys mentality with most players getting offered new deals

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24 minutes ago, philmpv said:

.My main fear re pugh is that if he's in charge when renewal time comes around, it will be a jobs for the boys mentality with most players getting offered new deals
 

What’s that based on though? I understand it would be a concern but that’s basically saying Pugh is unprofessional and wouldn’t do what’s best. He has done nothing to indicate he would do such a thing?

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14 minutes ago, Joe B said:

Will Pugh decimate a dressing room he's been part of for 3 years?

I get the thinking, but if he has serious aspirations to be a manager then I would hope he would think rationally.

That said, you and @philmpv do have a valid concern, he may be a bit blinded by the “I know I can trust them” mentality.

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34 minutes ago, Joe B said:

do we go for root and branch reform, with a new coach.

for next season ^this. More importantly than any out-of-contract players.

I hoped the days of "its [insert assistant / coach name]'s turn"  (...aka "he's already on the payroll, so give the manager's job to him"), were gone and buried after the debacles of the Bratt and Smurthwaite eras.

We've certainly not got any sort of Anfield boot room in place, so lets not act like we have when it comes to employing the most important role within the football club. (and that's not a dig at Carol, but more that its been the case numerous times over my 40 years of supporting, and the 1 real success was an absolute lottery-win style gem-in-a-million in John Rudge).

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What’s that based on though? I understand it would be a concern but that’s basically saying Pugh is unprofessional and wouldn’t do what’s best. He has done nothing to indicate he would do such a thing?
I accept that, but it does worry me all the same, mainly for the exact reason Joe B stated. Hope to God I'm wrong, but we won't know until it happens I guess!

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GK Keep Brown and also Visser as I'm sure the latter is relatively cheap.

Def maybe Brisley and Fitzpatrick depending on wages. Montano very probably as its a trade-off of injuries with versatility. Campbell-Gordon still counts as under 21 so really a decision best taken by the coaching staff.

Mid Hurst definitely, can play all across the midfield and fullback. Toyed with Joyce but feel he isn't quite the player he was last year

For Given squad restrictions and age I'd only look at Guthrie if he shows up well over the next couple of months

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36 minutes ago, JRC said:

GK Keep Brown and also Visser as I'm sure the latter is relatively cheap.

Def maybe Brisley and Fitzpatrick depending on wages. Montano very probably as its a trade-off of injuries with versatility. Campbell-Gordon still counts as under 21 so really a decision best taken by the coaching staff.

Mid Hurst definitely, can play all across the midfield and fullback. Toyed with Joyce but feel he isn't quite the player he was last year

For Given squad restrictions and age I'd only look at Guthrie if he shows up well over the next couple of months

Issue is that Visser takes up a registration place. Can we afford to give up 10% of our squad places to goalkeepers, when one is unlikely to not feature in the league?

It's a risk, as if you sign an U21 and Brown gets injured, you're relying on a kid. 

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I know people will cry 'this season isn't over yet!' (save your breath), but good football clubs are planning years in advance, and it's fun to speculate.
How do we approach the 2021 summer? Do we continue with the same core of players, and titivate the sides? Or do we go for root and branch reform, with a new coach.
A reminder of the new rules:
1) Squad can only include 20 (down from 22) players over the age of 21
2) Any new contract now contributes to the salary cap of £1.5m. This is an average salary of £75,000 per player (of the 20), or £1,442 per week.
From my lazy research/memory, this is the contract situation. Please point out where I've messed up:
Out of Contract in summer 2021
GK: Brown, Visser
Def: Brisley, Legge, Crooks, Montano, Mills, Fitzpatrick, RCG
Mid: Joyce, DTS (not registered), Manny, McKirdy (not registered), Hurst, 
Forw: Pope, Guthrie, Cullen
Under Contract through the 2021 season
GK:
Def: Gibbons, Smith, 
Mid: Worrall, Amoo, Conlon, Taylor, Whitehead, Burgess
Forw: Rodney, Robinson (not registered)
 
Unless I'm wrong, we have 9 players signed up through the 2021 season (excluding Robinson). I've not included the young trio of Bailey, Lennon, and Chambers as I have no idea if they're currently on professional contracts or not.
My first thought is we have a good core of players tied down; Gibbons, Smith, Conlon, Taylor, and Rodney provides a youthful core, and Worrall is obviously a good player. Burgess and Amoo are reasonable squad players who would contribute to most sides at this level. I would hope we can come to some form of settlement with Whitehead and Robinson will be gone.
The question is then; who do we offer terms to of the 'out of contract' lads? Do the veterans such as Brown, Legge, Joyce, and Pope get another 1-year contract? Do the injury prone players (Cullen, Manny, and to a lesser extent Monty) get another year? Do we go full rebuild and release the lot? Do we trust the recruitment structure?
I know a lot can, and will, change in the next 6 months but I'm bored and locked down so though it would provide a fun exercise. Remember, the likes of Brown, Legge, Joyce, and Pope will be on more than the salary cap average, and would most likely need to accept lower terms if offered a deal at all.
Any thoughts? Who to renew? What positions to target in the summer? Any potential signings? Will Pugh, as a 'continuity appointment', result in more extensions as opposed to an external appointment with a fresh set of eyes? Do we opt for youth, probably cheaper, with the salary cap restrictions and shift away from the oldest 11 in the league we currently utilise?
Keep Brown, Visser, Brisley, Monty, Fitz, Hurst.

Leaves you with 5 over age spots to fill, a new young starting cb, better back up for gibbo, a defensive mid to do the Joyce role, two strikers.

I'd be looking to actually try and use the academy this year. Bailey at least seems to be being offer a chance on the bench, maybe he could come in as part of the first team squad.

It feels almost inevitable that Pugh gets the job now, so we will have to rely on his contacts. I have absolutely no faith in whatever recruitment policy we have been going with for the last few seasons. Hopefully something is done about this in terms of bringing in a proper data team to help us scout. However I'm not hopeful and fear we will revert to type on the recruitment front.

I'd hope we would try to bring Pope into the fold as part of the coaching team somewhere, first team or academy.


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Joe B.

         This is an extremely good thread. The only thing that I can add is the obvious, reduce the average age of the first team and take into consideration all those who haven’t played a certain number of games. I’d like to see some pace injected into the centre of defence. If Barrow were to be relegated would anyone suggest taking a chance on Angus.?

Edited by Playa Amodores
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13 minutes ago, Walka003 said:

It feels almost inevitable that Pugh gets the job now, so we will have to rely on his contacts. I have absolutely no faith in whatever recruitment policy we have been going with for the last few seasons. Hopefully something is done about this in terms of bringing in a proper data team to help us scout. However I'm not hopeful and fear we will revert to type on the recruitment front.

I agree. We've been run via 'contacts' for the last 2 years and itd led to the awful recruitment that we're now paying the price for.

I don't dispute Pugh knows a lot of people in the business, but it's just not good enough to have contacts anymore. Everyone has contacts. Everyone knows the big names. I would love for us to have some data to help narrow down the scouting pool, and then get some proper scouts on the ground to watch them. 

We need to be going to the clever clubs, taking notes on what they do, and implementing our version here.

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Big clear out needed for me. We need to build a team and squad around players who have a higher ceiling with age their side. Players under contract for next year gives us the opportunity to do just that building around Conlon and Taylor. 

Of those to renew possibly Brisley & Brown based on wage demands but I would try to keep Hurst & Monty. A case of wait and see for Guthrie and RCG.

Time for a big change in the summer and a huge opportunity for the new manager.

I would add I'm still holding out hope this season is not over for us. I still think if we can get back to back wins, players coming back to fitness and confidence starting lift that the current squad could get us back where we really should be in the play-offs - then who knows could be a summer rebuild in L1😀

 

 

Edited by MBE
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I think Manny and Monty have had more than a fair crack but neither can stay fit.  Given restricted numbers both are a waste of a place.  Cullen hasn't really shown enough to be given the benefit but I am not so certain about that.

We need 2 decent keepers, an injury to Brown would leave us in the deep stuff without adequate backup.  Maybe we could loan a young lad with promise who would be way down the order at his parent club?

Legge definitely finished.  I have reservations about Pope.  If he can get a regular gig elsewhere I would let him go.  If not, he could be useful as a sub to bring on but his attitude to that role would have to be right.  I have said it before, I am not sure a frustrated Pope is good for the dressing room.  If he gets some coaching roles as well though it might settle him down a bit.  I admire his desire to want to play every game but he needs to be realistic.

Joyce probably is on the decline now.

As Joe has pointed out, we potentially already have a decent young spine signed, just need to be brave enough to build around that now and we might have to accept that our promotion chance went last season and we may be a couple more seasons off another proper shot.

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