As the summer approaches, it isn’t just buying and selling players that clubs up and down the country have to make plans for, as decisions must also be taken around those players currently at a club who are faced with the daunting uncertainty of the expiration of their contracts.
Difficult as it may seem, sometimes clubs are forced to make the tough decision to sever ties and leave a man without a club, and indeed a job.
Those calling the shots at Blackburn Rovers will therefore be relieved by the fact that the vast majority of there squad are tied to the club for another 12 months at least, although there is a decision still to be made over one high profile and long serving member of the Rovers squad.
Having been at the club since January 2014, Craig Conway has more Rovers appearances to his name than any other player currently on the club’s books, sitting tantalisingly close to a double century with 198, although a calf problem is currently threatening to cruelly deny him that milestone before his contract expires at the end of the season.
That contract does however have the option of a further 12 month extension that would surely see Conway pass 200 appearances for the Lancashire side, and while it should not be taken up purely for the purposes of sentimentality, it is an option that Rovers cannot afford to turn down.
After playing little more than a bit part role in Rovers promotion from League One at the first attempt last season, many wondered whether Conway was worth keeping around for the Championship return this season, and while his opportunities have again been limited, his contributions have been immeasurable.
Conway may have made just nine starts and 19 appearances in all for Rovers in the league this season, but he has played important and outstanding parts in three of Rovers biggest wins of the season.
The first of those saw Conway recalled to put in a dominant performance on the right of midfield in a 4-2 victory over Sheffield Wednesday at the end of a three game week that had seen Rovers suffer back to back defeats to local rivals Preston and Wigan.
Then, less than half an hour into the reverse fixture against Wigan, Conway came off the bench to step into an unnatural left wing back role in place of the injured Amari’i Bell as Rovers ended a seven game losing run with a 3-0 win prevented their opponents dragging them into the relegation fight.
Just weeks later Conway put in a sterling performance just weeks later to dominate former England left back Ashley Cole as Rovers beat Derby to all but secure their Championship survival after three straight defeats that followed the Wigan win.
It is not just Conway’s ability to really step up to the mark in games where Rovers need him to. Conway’s experience and seniority make him a key part of the team spirit that those within the club often claim has been so important to its recent success, and with Rovers needing to strengthen in both defence and attack in the off-season, searching for a replacement for the Scottish wide man shouldn’t really be high on Rovers’ list of list of priorities.
At 33-years-old there can be no doubting that Conway is approaching the latter end of his career. You feel Rovers would be well served to let see out at least a little bit more of it at Ewood Park.