9:30am Friday 28th March 2014
By David Pritchard
All contract decisions at Oxford United will be made after the end of the season as Gary Waddock takes time to assess the quality in the squad.
The new head coach is less than a week into his tenure at the club and does not intend to agree any deals until after he has fully scrutinised the individuals on the books.
There are 13 players in the first and development team squads whose deals expire this summer.
It equates to half United’s senior professionals, although the club have the option of activating an additional 12 months on several, including skipper Jake Wright, winger Sean Rigg, plus youngsters Sam Long, David Lynn and Josh Shama.
Waddock stated everyone had a clean slate when he took over last weekend, meaning they all have just over a month to stake their claim.
He said: “They’ll have to wait until the end of the campaign.
“I’ll have to see how they perform, on the training ground and in games, before I make a decision on them.
“It’s as simple as that. I’m not going to come in here and offer players contracts when I’ve not seen them play.
“I watched them against Southend and Hartlepool, but I can’t make a judgement on players that way.
“I know the group and I know the players, but they have to earn that contract.”
It allows Waddock time to gauge who he wants to keep as the process of building a squad in his image begins heading into next season.
Goalkeeper Ryan Clarke, who penned a new two-year deal in January, is the only senior player whose future has been finalised.
Last month, youth team prospect Josh Ashby agreed a long-term contract, but any other talks which are in progress will be shelved for the time being.
U’s chairman Ian Lenagan has said discussions with James Constable, Josh Ruffels and Tom Newey have taken place recently.
But Waddock made it clear they would be in the same boat as everyone else.
He said: “They will be on hold until I make a final decision.”
The U’s boss, right, will sit down with the Oxford Mail next week and respond to your queries.
If you have a question, email firstname.lastname@example.org by 7pm on Sunday evening and we will pass on a selection to Waddock – and print his answers in a two-page United special.
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