While the idiots in charge continue to play silly beggars with the stadium, it won’t have escaped your notice that there have been some important squad decisions this week.

Money’s tight, and with many of our players coming off the back of hit-and-miss campaigns, this has led to the inevitable – players saying their goodbyes.

So while things are quiet I thought I’d run through and cast an opinion on those on their way out, and have a bit of a guess at who might also be on the brink..

Affirmatives

Richard Wood

Squashed-nose Woody has been at the club for a fair while now. He’s been known to go through periods of decentness (and as a general rule I do think he’s a well-rounded defender) – but his biggest issues are twofold:

  1. He’s on mega-bucks and we can’t afford him; and
  2. He has the unenviable record of being responsible for 97% of the goals we’ve conceded this season.

OK, I embellish somewhat, but his mistake rate has been mind-bendingly high.

Right decision?┬áYep. It’s sad to see him go, but there are cheaper alternatives.

Stephen Elliott

When you look at the whole pie, Elliott’s not had the greatest of campaigns. Of course he’s had some cracking moments we can look back on with fondness; most notably that double against MK Dons.┬áBut it’s the┬ámiserly┬átotal of just 18 appearances which tells its own story.

That being said – I do like him. I wasn’t too sure what to expect when he first arrived. I’d heard he was a nothing sort of player, and had built up a vision of a stockier, less crap version of Roy O’Donovan. But at this level he’s a talented player, an expert at holding onto the ball, and a classy mover.

His age and recent injury no doubt go against him, along with what you’d have to imagine is a┬ácomparatively┬áreasonable wage to offset his former Premiership income.

Right decision?┬áI’m not fully on-board as he’s been a bit of a favourite of mine. But with my pragmatism┬ácap on, I can see the logic.

Jordan Stewart

There’s very little to say about Stewart. He came to fill in, was pretty unfit while he did so, got sent off, and can now leave. Which he will do.

It was nice to know you Jordinho, but with Blair Adams as first choice, and a manager who’s mighty keen on youth, there’s just no room for you at the inn.

Right decision? Yep. Simply hasn’t earned a new contract.

Danny Philliskirk

Philliskirk is an odd one. He came in during January, has done very well for the second string, but hasn’t managed to force his way into the first team reckoning. He had one game, but while his movement was safe and reasonably intelligent, he showed very little to suggest he was able to step up into Pressley’s thinking as a genuine lone threat.

Right decision? Probably. Harsh to judge him on an hour’s first team football, but it’s a tough world out there.

Nathan Cameron

Cameron’s worked at it, but has never quite been able to establish himself in our hearts and minds. There’s still plenty of time in his career to improve, but there was always going to be the day when a decision on his progress was needed: Is this guy going to be good enough or not?

Unfortunately our lasting memory will be of him giving an absolutely calamitous performance before being dropped and sent to Northampton in faux-disgrace. Mind you, he’s back with his mates Clive, Roy and Aidy and has some play-offs to look forward too. He’ll live.

Right decision? Yes. The fresh start will do him good.

James Bailey

OK, it’s a bit of a cheat because he’s not ours to keep, but seeing how regularly he’s played, in ordinary circumstances the club would be having a think about whether he’s worth a punt keeping on.

Typically he’s not been able to replicate the form that persuaded us to bring him back to the club after Christmas, meaning his likely destination will be a return home to Derby.

Right decision? For sure. He started to feel like a luxury come the end; except he was one of those rare luxuries who provide very little actual luxury.

Callum Ball

Another who failed to make the most of the opportunities to shine. He’s been at the club all season and only really has a consolation against Arsenal and a second half cameo against champions Bournemouth to show for it.

Right decision? Ja. Wages are valuable, and he’s not come anywhere close to enticing us into paying him any.

More than likelys

Gary McSheffrey

It’s not been confirmed yet, but after a not-so-cryptic tweet the other day, it’s only a matter of time before we hear the news that Macca won’t be back next year.

It’s a sad end for him, for a man who only this season surpassed Dion Dublin in the all-time leading scorers list. Whether keen on his play or not, he deserves a level of respect – yet he’s struggled to receive that this year. Once you become the focus of the fans’ wrath, it’s quite a task to recover from it no matter how irrational it seems to be.

Right decision? It has to be, I guess. Wages again will be the issue. Much like Elliott, a former prem player always comes with their enhanced baggage and Pressley would find it hard to justify keeping him in.

Shaun Jeffers

The lad’s pretty much fallen off the radar. Unless he suddenly finds another level, I can’t help but think he’ll be gone this summer too, even with our potential reliance on the kids stepping up next season.

Personally, I’d say the chances of him being around to see next year’s struggle are tiny.

Right decision? Absolutely. We need to be very specific and picky about who we spend our money on.

Josh Ruffels

Another one whose contract will be up soon, and with absolutely┬áno mention in the first team frame for 18 months or so, I’m going to take that as a sign that he’s still lacking something pretty important.

Right decision?┬áTough one. It only takes a couple of decent training sessions for the lad to change some managerial perceptions of him. But for me, I’ve not seen any signal of his ability to finally step up, and for that reason, I’m out.

It’s touch and go..

Kevin Malaga

Our Kev has extra years left on his contract. Our Kev has been offered a pay off. Our Kev has told them to stick that where the sun don’t shine.

One inconceivable hoof out of play aside, I never saw him do anything too bad on the pitch, and certainly nothing as a catastrophic as the other defenders had  managed.

Right decision? I’m going to be controversial here and say maybe not. OK, we don’t know much about him, but from what I saw, he actually looked quite good. It’s a tricky one to gauge, but if given the choice I don’t think I’d mind him sticking around. As long as we gave him a go of course.

Cody McDonald

Another controversial one is the Marmite man of our group – Cody McDonald. This year was meant to be the one where he final broke through for us, but he was never really given the concerted opportunity to attempt that.

Unlike Clarke and McGoldick – he’s not afforded the same sort of leeway in the team. He’s not a dominant enough influence on the pitch as they are. That’s not to say he’s a bad player – he’s just never going to scare the┬áopposition in the same way as the they do. He seems to need a strike partner for a start.

Right decision? I’m still certain he has something to offer. I’d like him to stay on and give it one last shot.

David Bell

Poor David Bell mates; finally back from long-term injury and now I’m postulating that he’s going to be told to sod off. The big stumbling block here will be the contract he has seeing him through to the end of time itself. That’ll cost a little bit to pay off.

But let us not forget the quality he is able to produce when he’s actually involved in the game. It’s another one of those players you pin your hopes on being good because you’ve seen enough snippets of what he’s capable of. Whether he’ll ever be able to turn this into reality is the big question.

Right decision? I’m torn between these two very arguments. I don’t think I’d shed a tear if he were to sling his hook, but there will always be that lingering doubt; would we be getting rid of a potential gem?

It’s a big call, but seeing as it’d cost the club money to do so, that’ll probably have a strong influence and we’ll keep him on.

Aaron Martin

It’s touch and go with Martin because it’s been mentioned that he’s the only one of the loan players that we’re looking into keeping for ourselves. I suppose that makes sense with Cameron and Wood going, but I do wonder whether this is convenience talking more than anything else.

Mind you, his positioning and anticipation on the other hand is pretty good.

Right decision?┬áBy this point we’ll have barely anyone left, so we could probably do with someone sticking it out in defence. I’ve had a few days to collect my thoughts on him having made a ┬áright pigsear of offering any on this week’s Nii Lamptey Show.┬áOn balance, I’d have him stay on if that was to happen. But it’s a close one.

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