>There’s a chance that by the start of next season, Cobblers fans will be watching an entirely new side with no less than eleven players out on contract in the summer. Sammo has indicated that most will be playing for their futures at the club over the next few weeks so who should we offer new deals to and who are surplus to requirements? Unfortunately looking at the list shows that most are big players and with the likes of Josh Walker and Ben Tozer ending their loan spells come May it’ll be a nervy time to be a Town fan!
Here’s my views on the guys out of contract:
Chris Dunn…tough one fro Dunny. He’s not entirely consistent but can pull off some moments of quality on his day. Having come through the youth system behind Mark Bunn he’s not hit the same levels but has kept us in one or two games. Is that enough though? Personally I think it could be time to look into other options and for a keeper wanting first team football it could mean the end of the road and a fresh challenge. VERDICT: Let go
Abdul Osman…we’ve all seen how much we miss Osman in the last couple of games so he’s one we need to tie down. Sammo will be desperate to keep his spine in tact and Osman is a key part of that. VERDICT: Keep
Liam Davis…Davis has been attracting scouts from sides at a higher level but hasn’t seemed to get a really good run in the side for various reasons this term. Given a full pre-season and a good formation that we stick to though and he can still have a major role to play. Verdict: Keep
Craig Hinton…out on loan at the moment with his highlight for the Cobblers this season being his fantastic camera and interview skills on the Liverpool “Behind the Scenes” videos that appeared on the official website post match! Seems a good character for the dressing room but is that enough with wages needing to be freed up? Sorry Craig! Verdict: Get rid
Billy McKay…Another tough one. Billy gives everything to his game and doesn’t get the plaudits a lot of the time. I still feel he has a lot to give to us and not just as a substitute to Leon and Harrad for his menacing of defenders and decent goal scoring touch. Verdict: Keep
Leon McKenzie…The goal ratio speaks for itself and we have to just hope that Leon is settled and wants to stick around. A promising partnership with Shaun Harrad is already forming and when both fit and one their form could be one of the best partnerships in the league. Verdict: Keep
Kevin Thornton…Ah, the enigma that is! In and out of the side this season and a real luxury when he’s on his game. Thornton was tipped to be the star of the season but injuries have been cruel to the former Coventry man. Still, Sammo seems to have turned him around and there’s no doubt that we need to keep hold. Verdict: Keep
Marcus Hall…Brought in as a quick fire replacement for Peter Gilbert, Hall has been as consistent as his predecessor at left back. Should stay, and I don’t see any reason why he won’t. Verdict: Keep
Francis Laurent…I’ve not actually seen Laurent play yet but he’s another who appears to need his fitness back before he can get going. Hence the problem with mid-season deals like this one where the player isn’t 100% and always playing catch up. It would only be down to the players’ attitude to his return to form that would be needed to get Sammo on board for a longer deal. Verdict: A tentative Keep
Paul Rodgers…With John Johnson coming in it’s been tough for Rodgers to break into the first team squad but he’s certainly a player that can be useful in many positions so for that reason alone we should hold on to him. Verdict: Keep
Dean Beckwith…Not the quickest of defenders and one prone to the odd error but he’s formed a good partnership with Ben Tozer. Assuming Tozer doesn’t come back we will need Beckwith in tact for continuity. Verdict: Keep
So basically I’m keeping nine out of eleven based on where we are at the moment and assuming that there’s not going to be a miraculous playoff chasing end to the season. Let me know your thoughts either way! Continuity is needed as mentioned but attitudes, discipline and the like are also required so that we can show the undoubted quality that this side has.