‘I wouldn’t be doing my job properly’ – Michael Appleton talks expiring contracts and where his focus is right now

Courtesy Graham Burrell

Michael Appleton has revealed exclusively to the Stacey West that conversations about new contracts for those who have deals expiring will not take place until the end of January at the earliest.

The Imps’ gaffer took time out of preparations for the Burton game to have a chat with us this evening, with the current playing squad top of the conversation from our point of view.

January will see a number of our top players enter the final six months of their current deals, with some of our loan players also eligible for recall, or for sending back.

Whilst the situations are causing some fans concern, the manager is absolutely focused on results and fixtures right now, although the pressing subject of loan deals is inescapable.

“From a loan point of view, we’ll have discussions with not only the players and their agents but also their parent clubs over the next couple of weeks,” said Michael.

“With most loans, not all of them, but most there is a window of opportunity to have a conversation with those parties about whether the loans going well. That works both ways too. As it stands at the minute there are a couple of important games to get through first before we start to have those conversations.”

Out of contract in the summer – Bruno (Courtesy Graham Burrell)

Those important games include Burton tomorrow, Tranmere, Coventry and a tough trio of Christmas fixtures. Beyond that, there are a number of our key players without a deal for next season. Michael Bostwick, Harry Toffolo and Bruno Andrade are three such players, but again the focus remains on results rights now.

“In terms of contracts being up at the end of the season, we are in a bit of a scrap and in a position where we know we need to pick up points over the next couple of months.

“We’re going into a busy period and facing sides at the top of the table and I won’t be getting involved in discussions with players whose contracts are expiring until at least the end of January at the very earliest.”

Michael feels that if he were prioritising those conversations over the fight we have to stay away from the bottom three, he would be performing a dereliction of duty.

“If I did start those talks, I wouldn’t be doing my job properly given the position that we’re in at the minute.”

13 players are out of contract at the end of the season, with only Cian Bolger, Jordan Adebayo-Smith and John Akinde confirmed as having deals beyond that. However, Harry Anderson, Jorge Grant and Jack Payne are all thought to have deals running beyond this season, but the lengths of those contracts were not disclosed.