Lee Martin contract talks have begun – but they come with a warning

PAUL Jewell has revealed that discussions have begun with Lee Martin over a new contract.

Away from the talk of new players coming in, Martin, who is out of contract at the end of the coming season, is a key player in Jewell’s future plans.

But the Blues boss reiterated his new tough stance by saying Martin would be placed on the transfer list if he did not sign a new deal.

Jewell said: “The owner (Marcus Evans) has spoken with his agent. We are trying to tie Lee down with a new contract in the near future.

“We want to keep Lee Martin but if it is not sorted out in the near future, we cannot afford to let contracts run down.”

Jewell has seen his fingers burnt by Gareth McAuley, David Norris and Grant Leadbitter in the last two seasons – the trio all leaving for nothing.

There are currently 14 members of the current squad whose contracts expire at the end of the 2012/13 season.

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Some will still need to convince Jewell they are worth a fresh deal, but the Town boss has moved quickly to try and tie Martin down.

The former Manchester United man has endured a frustrating pre-season so far, playing just 30 minutes of football as he battles a thigh problem.

Jewell explained: “Lee did his thigh in Holland, he played against Cambridge (last week) and felt it again. He is ok but we don’t want to risk him breaking down.”