Player contracts already under discussion, reveals John Ward

COLCHESTER United boss John Ward has revealed that the club is already in talks, over players’ contracts beyond this season.

COLCHESTER United boss John Ward has revealed that the club is already in talks, over players’ contracts beyond this season.

But Ward also admitted that the Football League’s new rules, to kick in for the start of next season, which will only permit a club to spend a certain percentage of their income on players’ wages, will have an affect on who he can keep, and who he can bring in.

The contracts of several senior players are set to expire next summer, including defenders Magnus Okuonghae, Matt Heath and Pat Baldwin, midfielders John-Joe O’Toole and Lloyd James, winger Ashley Vincent and keeper Ben Williams.

“The process of thinking about new contracts has already started,” explained Ward.

“We’ve had chats and meetings already, and I will be having a further chat with my chairman (Robbie Cowling) before January comes along, and discussing that as well.

“But it will be a different situation at the end of this season, for next season, because of the new rules being brought in by the Football League in terms of what you can and can’t spend on your players’ wages and salaries.

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“So there’s a lot more thought and consideration that needs to go into it this year, not just by Colchester United but by every football club.

“It’s more of a balancing act, simply because our average gates are a lot smaller than many others.

“Basically what your income is, determines what you can spend on salaries, and that’s pretty low here.

“There might be a few players I’d like to keep that I can’t, but a lot of other clubs will be in the same position.

“This is not particular to Colchester United. This is how it is with every club in League One and League Two.

“The big boys will survive better than the smaller ones, so we have to work to control what we can and can’t do now, rather than wait until May comes around and we get caught unawares. We don’t want that.

“This balancing act is going to be hard, and pretty awkward. It literally comes down to sums, it’s that precise,” added Ward.

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