Player contract talks on hold until season over, says Lambert

Cole Skuse and Andre Dozzell are both out of contract at the end of the season. Picture: ARCHANT

Cole Skuse and Andre Dozzell are both out of contract at the end of the season. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says contract talks have to stay on hold until the club knows what division it’s playing in next season.

Cole Skuse, Andre Dozzell, Will Keane, Gwion Edwards, Danny Rowe, Jordan Roberts, Armando Dobra and Brett McGavin are all due to reach the end of their deals this summer. Town could take up a one-year extension clause in all of those deals should they wish, though there are deadlines they must do that by.

It's understood that the Blues are about to take up the option in the deal of McGavin, just as they have with Bailey Clements, but that all other negotiations - which have been ongoing for some time - are on ice for now.

"It's not about individuals - the most important thing is the team and the club," said Lambert, his side having slipped from first to ninth in the League One table in the space of less than a month.

"Anything after the season will take care of itself. We are totally focussed on our games. I understand players will want to get everything sorted, but at this moment in time we have to throw all the eggs in one basket and say 'this is the main objective, to try and achieve something'. Let's see if we can get out of this division."

Long-serving midfielder Skuse revealed recently that he'd held preliminary contract talks with owner Marcus Evans and general manager of football operations Lee O'Neill, saying the duo had 'expressed an interest in keeping me at the club both in a playing capacity and in terms of life after football'. The 33-year-old, who has made it clear he would like to stay, says fresh terms rather than taking the one-year extension seems more likely.

It's understood the Blues offered Dozzell a new deal last summer, but the 20-year-old was reluctant to commit amidst transfer interest from Premier League clubs, including Norwich City. Since then he's made just six league starts.

Meanwhile, it's understood that Town have long been in negotiations with Dobra over a longer-term deal having turned down multiple six-figure offers from Brighton for the Albanian youth international last month.

The Blues would be due compensation for both players should they leave at the end of their deals due to the fact they are both under the age of 24.

Speaking earlier this month, O'Neill said: "We were are in constant talks with players and agents about contractual situations," said O'Neill. "Those conversations go back and forth a lot. It's not a case of picking the phone up and saying 'this is the contract, are you going to sign it?'. Those conversations take months. It's rarely an easy process."


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