Deal dilemmas for Latics boss

Date published: 14 April 2014

Every Latics contract renewal offer will be judged on its own merits — but only after Athletic confirm their place in Sky Bet League One next season.

Manager Lee Johnson has only FIVE players with deals running through next season, though there are options on five more whose deals expire this summer.

Long-serving duo Jonathan Grounds and James Wesolowski are among those men without contracts beyond the summer.

Johnson says elements other than effectiveness on the pitch will come into the reckoning.

“The division we are in affects things,” said Johnson, who described how contracts are often drawn up with different financial rewards for each division.

“Each individual case is so different. Age, resale value, injury record and types of injuries, are they going to play 46 games, are they key men, what potential do they have – and what do the players want? To stay or go? All these factors come into it.”

Athletic had a fixture-free weekend which was a double-edged sword. The manager wanted to carry through the momentum from the 3-2 win at Bradford, but also had the chance to nurse injured players back to fitness ahead of a busy late run to the end of the season.

“It’s striking a balance between people not thinking we have cracked it yet, in terms of avoiding relegation, and also taking the heat off the intensity in training and nursing a few back to fitness,” said Johnson.

“Hopefully they will have a good couple of weeks of training now, coming up to the run-in of the final five games.”

Jonson Clarke-Harris, James Dayton, Danny Philliskirk, Korey Smith, Rhys Turner

Connor Brown, Jonathan Grounds, James Wesolowski, Terry Dunfield, Carl Winchester, Adam Lockwood, Kirk Millar, Paul Rachubka, Danny Gosset, Luke Simpson, Genseric Kusunga *, Charlie MacDonald *, David Mellor *, James Wilson *, Anton Rodgers *
* = contract option for a further year

Adel Gataifi, John Paul Kissock, David Worrall, Gary Harkins, Joel Byrom