Martin, Drury and Lee-Barrett set to learn their fate

Lee Martin

Lee Martin - Credit: CameraSport - Stephen White

IPSWICH Town manager Mick McCarthy has started the process of talking to his soon-to-be out-of-contract players about their futures – with a retention list due to be announced by the end of the weekend.

Lee Martin, Andy Drury and Arran Lee-Barrett are fast approaching the end of their deals at Portman Road, with McCarthy having always said that he would not start any negotiations until his side were mathematically safe from Championship relegation.

With that feat having been achieved with last Saturday’s 3-1 home win over Birmingham, the Blues boss said: “I’ve spoken to a few today (yesterday) and I’ll speak to some tomorrow (today). I’m just glad that we are now safe so that I can tell them this week rather than having to call them in and giving them some nine o’clock news next Tuesday.

“Everyone will know what we’re doing by the end of this weekend.

“The club will give out a retention list. I’m not going to give it out in dribs and drabs.”

Meanwhile, the Blues boss says he would like to sign the majority of the loan players that have played major parts in the club’s spectacular turnaround in the second-half of the season.

Jay Tabb (Reading), Guirane N’Daw (St Etienne) and Daryl Murphy (Celtic) are all set to be free agents, while Richard Stearman still has another year left on his deal at relegation-threatened Wolves.

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“I’ve had conversations with them about it all the time,” said McCarthy. “The ones under contract I can’t do much about yet. The ones who are Bosmans I’ll be talking to.

“I like them all and would like to keep my squad together, but they’ve got ideas about what they want to do too.

“I think they’d all like to stay – Murphy, Tabby, Guirane N’Daw. It’s about satisfying all their needs I guess – and I don’t know what they are yet.

“The nucleus of the side is good. There’s (Scott) Loachy, Tommy Smith, (Luke) Chambers, (Aaron) Cressie, Carlos Edwards, Luke Hyam, Frank Nouble.

“That’s seven, plus potentially Tabby, Stears, Murph and Guirane N’Daw.

“We might be able to do something with them. If we can keep a similar set-up, plus add a few more, then my expectations will be high heading into next season.”

Town finish what has been another rollercoaster campaign with a trip to Burnley tomorrow.

The Blues still can finish as high as ninth or as low as 18th, while their hosts also have little to play for having secured their safety with a win at Wolves last weekend.

“It’s really difficult not to just think phew and breath a sigh of relief,” said McCarthy. “That said, the training has been good, bubbly and relaxed. There’s been a real relief around it.

“We want to be professional and do things correctly, go about the job right and not finish the season on a sour note.

“I will make some changes to the team.”

– See tomorrow’s EADT for full Burnley v Ipswich match preview.