With just two league games left of the season (and the subsequent playoff campaign) we are a few weeks away from another summer rebuild. I thought that with the end of the year fast approaching it would be a good tome to compile a very quick update on the current squad and contract situations.
We have only announced two pre-contracts so far, Ayr’s Liam Smith and Aberdeen’s Mark Reynolds, but you would imagine that more news will be on the way in the coming weeks. Much will depend on which division we will playing in next season but Tony Asghar and the board have promised that our budgets will remain in place regardless. We also have a very large squad with many players needing to leave. It will be a summer of many more departures than arrivals.
The current squad status –
Benji Siegrist – Contracted until June 2020
Ross Laidlaw – Loan ends in June 2019
Josh Donaldson – Contracted until June 2020 (currently at Civil Service Strollers)
Frederic Frans – Contracted until June 2020
Rachid Bouhenna – Contracted until June 2020
Jamie Robson – Contracted until June 2020
Callum Booth – Contracted until June 2020
Stewart Murdoch – Contracted until June 2019 (currently at East Fife)
Sam Wardrop – Contracted until June 2020
Mark Reynolds – Contracted until June 2022 after signing pre-contract
Paul Watson – Contracted until June 2020
Mark Connolly – Contracted until June 2021
Charlie Seaman – Loan ends June 2019
Lewis Toshney – Contracted until June 2019 (currently at Brechin City)
Tam Scobbie – Contracted until June 2019 (currently at Brechin City)
William Edjenguele – Contracted until June 2019 (currently at Falkirk)
Liam Smith (pre-contract) – Contracted until June 2021
Adam Barton – Contracted until June 2020 (currently at Connah’s Quay Nomads)
Paul McMullan – Contracted until June 2021
Fraser Fyvie – Contracted until June 2020
Billy King – Contracted until June 2019 (Currently at Gillingham)
Sam Stanton – Contracted until June 2020
Morgaro Gomis – Contracted until June 2019
Aidan Nesbitt – Contracted until June 2019
Calum Butcher – Contracted until June 2020
Christoph Rabitsch – Contracted until June 2020
Cammy Smith – Contracted until June 2020
Fraser Aird – Contracted until June 2020 (currently at Queen of the South)
Ian Harkes – Contracted until June 2021
Peter Pawlett – Contracted until June 2021
Yannick Loemba – Contracted until June 2020
Osman Sow – Contracted until June 2020
Nicky Clark – Contracted until June 2020
Pavol Safranko – Loan ends June 2019
Matty Smith – Contracted until June 2020
Out of Contract in June (and expected to leave) –
Ross Laidlaw, Stewart Murdoch, Charlie Seaman, Lewis Toshney, Tam Scobbie, William Edjenguele, Billy King, Morgaro Gomis, Aidan Nesbitt, Pavol Safranko (although hopefully not!)
Not Out of Contract (but expected to leave) –
Adam Barton, Christoph Rabitsch, Fraser Aird, Yannick Loemba
Question marks will still remain over many in the squad but the names above seem the most obvious and although it is easy to tell those out of contract that they are leaving, it becomes more of a challenge to those who still have a year left on their deal.
A Perfect Summer?
So, what would the perfect summer look like? Well the obvious answer is a return to the Premiership but in terms of the playing squad there are a few wishes I have.
Firstly we must try and secure Pavol Safranko on a permanent deal. I probably realise that this is going to be very difficult (and may ultimately not happen) but we need to at least try. Playing in the Premiership would put us in a strong position to do this but if we remain in the Championship it might be a deal that remains out of reach.
Elsewhere in the side I would say the most obvious area for an upgrade is in goal. We need a new goalkeeper and one who can provide us with stability. Getting a new keeper who can put in consistent and reliable performances most weeks is an absolute must.
In the defence I’d also be keen to bring in a left-back. I think that Smith, Reynolds and Connolly as 3/4 of the back four is good enough but I think we need a bit more quality on the left-hand side.
Unfortunately it looks like Fraser Fyvie is not going to re-ignite his career anytime soon and Ian Harkes can blow hot and cold so it is important we have a ball-carrier in the middle of the park. A central midfielder who can dictate the play would be a welcome addition.
Assuming that Yannock Loemba, Fraser Aird and Billy King will never be seen again and Aidan Nesbitt is leaving then we lack depth on the wing. With McMullan now being used in various roles it leaves Peter Pawlett as the only other natural wide player. At least one winger but ideally two would be something to help us.
Finally, upfront we will need to wait and see what happens with Safranko but with only Clark and Sow as recognised out and out strikers we will either need to get Safranko or we will need another striker.
We still have a few weeks of potential twists and turns to come and we still have the chance to get back to the Premiership but what will definitely happen in the summer is another mini-rebuild. I would think that we will see at least 13 departures and possibly 5 or 6 signings. Ogren, you’ll need to get the cheque book out again!