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Oxford United to decide on contracts
OXFORD United’s out-of-contract players will find out today whether they will be offered new deals.
All of the squad are set for individual meetings with manager Chris Wilder to assess their contributions to a season which ended in disappointment last weekend, as the U’s missed out on the play-offs.
For seven players, whose deals expire this summer, the outcome of the discussions will either see them enter negotiations for a new contract, or released.
Wilder was tight-lipped on his plans for the group, which amounts to almost a third of the senior squad, but admitted departures were inevitable to make room for new signings during the close season.
He said: “There will be players moving on, as always happens.
“There are real big decisions to make and I’m brave enough to make them – I have done in the past.
“We have to improve and if that means next year we get into the play-offs or automatic promotion then we’ll have hit our goal.”
Some of those affected will be more confident than others of featuring for the U’s next season.
Asa Hall told the Oxford Mail last month he was keen to stay and the midfielder’s strong finish to the campaign, which included six goals in 12 games, makes a persuasive argument for extending his stay.
Adam Chapman is also in a good position after featuring prominently since returning to the side in March following a lengthy lay-off.
Oli Johnson expressed an interest to stay last week and although injuries have limited the ex-Norwich City winger since joining in January, he may have done enough to be retained.
At the other end of the scale, it would be a major surprise if Paul McLaren was offered new terms, with the 35-year-old making just one substitute appearance since November.
Mark Wilson is another player unlikely to avoid the axe. The former Manchester United midfielder failed to establish himself after signing a short-term deal in January and did not feature in the final six games of the season.
With just six league starts under his belt this season Anthony Tonkin may also be forced to look elsewhere after falling behind Liam Davis and Tony Capaldi in the pecking order at left back.
Wayne Brown’s future is arguably the most difficult to call.
The 35-year-old made only four appearances this season, but with youngster Max Crocombe not yet deemed ready for senior football, the veteran goalkeeper may be kept on as Ryan Clarke’s understudy, possibly as part of a player/coach role.