Coronavirus impacting contract renewals for key players at Ipswich Town

Ipswich Town are talking to Cole Skuse and Andre Dozzell about new contracts. Picture: ROSS HALLS

Ipswich Town are talking to Cole Skuse and Andre Dozzell about new contracts. Picture: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant

The impact of coronavirus is making it difficult for Ipswich Town to negotiate new deals with out-of-contract players.

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans and general manager of football operations Lee O'Neill. Photo: Steve

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans (left) and general manager of football operations Lee O'Neill. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

English football has been suspended until at least April 4 due to the outbreak and it remains unclear if or when the current season will be played until its conclusion, or what form the following campaign will take.

The Blues have a host of players whose deals expire this summer, including Cole Skuse, Will Keane, Gwion Edwards, Andre Dozzell and Armando Dobra, with all of those deals including one-year extension options. Typically those extensions must be triggered by the middle of May.

Contracts generally run until the end of June - the target date set by footballing authorities for the completion of 2019/20 - meaning issues could arise should the campaign stretch beyond June 30.

So with football’s immediate future unclear, Town’s general manager of football operations, Lee O’Neill, admitted negotiating those deals and making decisions for the long-term could become more difficult.

“Those are ongoing conversations and they aren’t the things which get left to near the end of the contract before we decide whether we’re igniting, not igniting, recruiting or releasing,” O’Neill said.

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“They are ongoing conversations which happen regularly and will continue to be had.

“Does it add an added layer of challenge? Yes it does because we don’t know when the next season is going to start or finish and we don’t know when this one will either.

Paul Lambert takes a sip of water during Town's 1-0 defeat against Coventry City at Portman Road. Ev

Paul Lambert takes a sip of water during Town's 1-0 defeat against Coventry City at Portman Road. Everyone's an expert, especially about his job. Photo: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant

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“To even have discussions about players’ contracts and the length of those deals are really quite difficult until we get further advice on where we’re going to be.

“There are obviously players we want to keep at the football club for an extended period but we need to know what the end of the season and then next season are going to look like.”

Also out of contract this summer are Danny Rowe, Jordan Roberts and Brett McGavin.

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