Contract expires this summer
SAUL DEENEY (GK) Deeney has been injured for the entire campaign. It’s conceivable that he could be kept on as a cheap ‘number three’ behind Fielding and Legzdins, but it’s much more likely that Ross Atkins will fulfil that role and Deeney will go.
My verdict: No deal
Likely outcome: No deal
JAKE BUXTON (CB) The signing that led some wag to coin the ‘Non-league Nigel’ slur, Buxton has won over many of his detractors through his heart-on-sleeve demeanour and genuine commitment to the cause. Even if he hadn’t scored the winner against Notts Forest in the 95th minute at Pride Park, he’d have deserved an extension and would have been offered one.
My verdict: Deal OK, he’s not exactly Igor Štimac, but as a back-up defender and occasional ‘closer’, we couldn’t do better than Jake.
Likely outcome: Deal Clough has already said he wants to keep Bucko and although I’ve heard on the grapevine that LA Galaxy, Chelsea, Milan and Real Madrid are all interested, a grounded lad like Jake knows that he belongs with us.
GARETH ROBERTS (LB) Age should theoretically be catching up with Roberts, who turned 34 in February, but he seems to be playing better than ever at the moment, so there’s no reason not to extend his contract by at least 12 months. It seems likely that another left back will be brought in as competition for Roberts before the new season kicks off, but he’s already seen off Jay McEveley and Dean Moxey, so don’t bet against him starting 2012/13 as our first choice number 3.
My verdict: Deal A one-year contract.
Likely outcome: Deal At his age, he’s unlikely to get a long contract offer elsewhere and will probably come to terms with Derby on an extension.
PAUL GREEN (CM) The Green thing was flagged up a long time ago and nothing has happened. Greeny has continued to play well and clearly isn’t letting the situation affect his form, but the reality is, he will probably be throwing his shirt into the crowd after the Peterborough United game and moving on.
My verdict: Deal Like 90% of Rams’ fans, I’d like to see Green stay and fear that he will be badly missed when he leaves. The fact that he can cover at right midfield or right back makes him a very useful squad member, although it must be said that while he isn’t playing in his preferred central midfield berth, we are not seeing the best of him.
Likely outcome: No deal Clough seems to have decided that his first-choice central midfielders are Hendrick and Bryson and that for the wages Green commands, we could strengthen the squad elsewhere. It’s probably also the case that as a 29 year-old Republic of Ireland international moving on a free transfer, Green could get himself a very nice deal (including a signing-on fee) from another Championship club.
CONOR DOYLE (AM) Doyle has never managed to work his way into the team and as he reaches the end of his current contract, a hamstring injury has prevented him from being given an opportunity to play. Sports Illustrated have reported him to be earning about around £35,000 a year.
My verdict: No deal At the age of 20, I just feel that if Doyle was going to have cracked it, he would have done by now. Tommo reckons he could be a good ‘hole’ player, but I don’t see him making an impression as a central midfielder, a striker or a winger. I think we should release Doyle and invest in another prospect instead.
Likely outcome: ??? Clough has recently mentioned that if it hadn’t been for the hamstring injury, he was planning to give Doyle a chance in the team, once we were safe from relegation. It could be that the American gets a short extension.
STEVEN DAVIES (CF) We all know that Steve is class, but at the same time, he has had terrible luck with injuries. There are two schools of thought here. One, that he has surely already had as much bad luck as it’s possible to have and should be able to get through the next couple of seasons without picking up any more freakish injuries. Two, that he will never quite be able to manage the rigours of a full season without succumbing to one problem or another.
He hasn’t managed more than 24 appearances in a season since joining Derby in 2008, but hopefully, this will be his best season to date in those terms and is already his best season in terms of goals, with ten (if you count the one against Watford, which has apparently been credited to him).
My verdict: Deal As Clough said when extending Davies’ deal by a year last season, he’s simply too good a talent to let go. Plus he has shown real character to get back playing, after suffering a frighteningly serious head injury.
Likely outcome: Deal His injury record will unfortunately probably prevent us from being able to offer him a long-term contract, but there will probably be a compromise offer of another year plus an option to extend again, which would surely suit all parties. *NB Davies’ current contract contains a one-year option, which according to BBC Radio Derby’s Colin Gibson, will be taken up.
Oh and LEE CROFT (RM) – Cheerio.
Others who could leave
JAMES BAILEY (CM) Despite scare stories written by Sky’s Pete O’Rourke, Bailey didn’t leave Derby this January, but his long-term future looks unclear (O’Rourke also wrongly told me that Bailey’s current contract expires this summer, by the way).
Bailey has another year to run on his deal, but it’s hard to see him being a regular in the team as long as Craig Bryson and Jeff Hendrick, both of whom have longer to run on their current contracts, are the preferred midfield partnership.
Bailey has only started twice in the last 13 games and will not want to stick around to sit on the bench next season. The question is whether another Championship side will be ready to offer him a place in their midfield this summer – if they are, he will probably be allowed to leave.
My verdict: ??? It is impossible to see Bailey extending his contract at the moment, because he isn’t in the team. It’s a tricky one, because he’s a good player, but it may well be that Hendrick’s emergence this year has scuppered him at Derby. If he does leave, along with Green, we will be left very short of cover in central midfield and will need to bring at least one new player in, notwithstanding the emergence of young Will Hughes. I’d like him to stay, but it would be a shame for him to be kicking his heels on the bench.
Likely outcome: Sell Clough has been fairly critical of Bailey this season and may have decided it’s time to move him on. The manager’s decision to sell Dean Moxey and refusal to select Chris Maguire shows that he can be pretty ruthless if his assessment is that a player isn’t developing as anticipated. In a climate of budgetary restraint, we don’t have much room to keep players around if they’re unlikely to start, so Bailey, who doesn’t fit into any of the categories of automatic pick, dependable back-up or promising youngster, might well be sacrificed, with a view to reinvesting the fee and saved wages elsewhere in the squad (for a right or left winger, say).
MILES ADDISON (CB) Having signed a contract extension last summer, Addison might have expected to be in the plans, but after he was permitted to extend his loan spell with Barnsley until the end of January, he was then promptly sent to Bournemouth almost as soon as he came back.
Fans still have a lot of affection for Miles, a hard-working academy product who was one of the few reasons to be positive during the wretched Paul Jewell era, but since 2008/9, when he started 35 times, he has barely featured, after suffering a stress fracture of the foot in a game against Blackpool in March 2009. The days when he played for England U’21s and captained the Rams seem a long, long time ago.
My verdict: Sell Some fans might see Addison as a ready replacement for the injured Shaun Barker, but the reality is, we don’t know if he’s still playing at the level he reached before the foot injury which halted his development. There’s little room for sentiment in football and although I would be genuinely gutted to see him leave, I would also understand if he was sold this summer.
Likely outcome: Sell Clough has already mentioned in interviews that he has a centre back in mind to sign this summer, in addition to Shackell, Buxton, O’Brien and Naylor, so that seems to indicate that there’s no room at the inn for Miles.
CHRIS MAGUIRE (CF) Two goals in six appearances while on loan at Portsmouth seems to have convinced a few Rams fans that Maguire is in fact the Messiah, but then again, Liam Dickinson had a fairly fruitful loan spell with Blackpool in the middle of his embarrassing Derby County nightmare.
Maguire is having marginally better time of it at Pride Park than Dickinson did (at least the Scot has actually played), but the reality is that if there are any other viable options available to him in the summer, he’ll jump at them. If it’s true that he isn’t in our team due to a lack of willingness to accept instructions in training, then it’s probably best all round that he is offloaded.
My verdict: Sell Who knows what has gone on behind the scenes, but it’s fairly obvious that there’s a major problem. At £470,000, Maguire has to be considered a costly flop, but if we can retrieve at least some of that cash in the summer and reinvest it, all is not lost.
Likely outcome: Sell If Clough had any time for Maguire, he surely would have started more than two league games this season. Not every transfer comes off and this is probably Clough’s most high-profile miss.