With only two players (Lathrope and Chaney) signed on for next season, there’s plenty of negotiations for Nico to do in the coming weeks. GI and Harrop have indicated that the boss will get their support to improve his flock, now show him the money Clarke!
I would keep the lion-share of the squad to be honest, we need at least 5 more additions without getting rid of any – and having continuity does generally help any team. I’ve seen TUFC managers try to get loads of players in and out during the summer, and by Xmas they still haven’t got a settled first XI.
Anyway let’s get on with this – here’s what I would do with the current players whose contracts are due to expire:
DEFINITES, SIGN UP ASAP:
Luke Young – Dan Sparkes – Sean McGinty – Brendan Moore – Ruairi Keating
Luke Young is a no-brainer signing even allowing for his injury problems, the heartbeat of United’s midfield; also my captain. Dan Sparkes = Quality professional; without him we lack of width and movement + 16 assists in 16-17!! He should be rewarded accordingly for a very good season. This season was a character building year for Sean McGinty, the best is yet to come from the big centre back for me as he continues to mature. There are not many better goalkeepers in the National League than ever-present American Brendan Moore and Kevin will be hoping to get him signed asap. Ruairi Keating jumps ahead of Brett for me due to his potential, plus drive and hunger for the game; if he continues to improve his game then we have a proper player on our hands.
ALSO ON MY RETAINED LIST:
Aman Verma – Brett Williams – Giancarlo Gallifuoco – Lathaniel Rowe-Turner – Courtney Richards – Myles Anderson
Aman Verma is a very handy utility player, and finished the season with some storming performances. I expect to see him back next season. Brett Williams is an enigma. I’m not sure he’ll ever be Nico’s favourite but he scores goals and I’d keep him. This could go either way as there may be other offers on the table, and Brett will be wary of ending up on the substitute bench again. Young Aussie Gianfranco Gallifuoco can fill in at centre back, right back and midfielder – well worth signing up for 17-18 if possible. I would not have given Lathaniel Rowe-Turner any contract pre-Xmas, but he’s done enough in 2017 to be rewarded with another year – more of a back-up for me though. Courtney Richards had a miserable season at Plainmoor, weighed down by the captaincy and struggling for form. He always shows heart and character though, so I wouldn’t want to let him go just yet! Journey-man defender Myles Anderson has had good and dodgy moments since arriving. His attitude has been right and if the terms are ok, I’d have him as a back-up to Sean. He may decide to move once again though!
BEN GERRING – WILL HANCOX – SHAUN HARRAD
Ben Gerring loves being at United and I love that! However if we want to move up the league we have to upgrade, and Ben just isn’t mobile or consistent enough to merit another year in my opinion. Will Hancox had a flavour of first team action, and I guess he may get another year but on very minimal terms. In truth he’s unlikely to ever find his way into the first XI and I don’t think a contract would be worth Nico writing up. Poor Shaun Harrad; not the most popular player at Plainmoor – especially when chosen ahead of Brett! He chases and harries brilliantly, but what we want from a striker is goals and he just doesn’t score them. It’s a shame as 5 years ago he would probably have done great for us, but I don’t think he’s worth keeping around the first team squad just because of his work ethic.
JAMIE REID – CHARLIE DUKE
Loan man Jamie Reid gave everything for the cause last season, and deserved to get more goals. I don’t think he’ll pin down a place at Exeter City, so I wouldn’t count out a return to Plainmoor out for the local lad – maybe this time permanently. It’s hard for me to comment on Charlie Duke as I haven’t seen him play! The young lad has been on loan lots, and any contract will depend on how Nico thinks he will progress in the coming season.
NEEDS AND WANTS FOR 17-18:
1 – Back-up Goalkeeper
2 – First Choice Right-Back
3 – First Choice Left-Back
4 – Passing Midfielder
5 – Right Winger
6 – Target Man Striker
7 – OVERALL = EXPERIENCE AND MORE GOALS!
Not much to ask is it!!