Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook has revealed that the club are working on extending the contracts to the end of the campaign for players whose current deals expire at the end of June, but he has also acknowledged the difficult situation faced by those players.
Cook’s side will be needing to get off to a strong start to the re-start to the campaign starting with the trip to Huddersfield Town, as they look to get themselves clear of relegation danger – and the Latics will be needing as many players fully fit and available for the run in as possible.
The likes of Michael Jacobs, Gary Roberts, Anthony Pilkington, Joe Garner, Danny Fox, Lewis Macleod and Chey Dunkley are all set to be out of contract at the end of the month, and Wigan would face a real challenge of trying to ensure their survival without those players being available for the run in.
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Speaking to Wigan Today ahead of Wigan’s trip to Huddersfield, Cook revealed that the club are doing their best to make sure that they manage to agree extensions to those contracts, but he also admitted the tough decision that out of contract players are faced with during this period.
He said: “Players get a lot of criticism at times, and sometimes it is very difficult to be a footballer.
“It is such a difficult time for the lads who are coming out of contract. There are a lot of different circumstances involved, and whether clubs want to give them contracts beyond the next few weeks or not.
“Lads will know they’ll be seeking employment elsewhere… so why should they risk their futures for a club that doesn’t want them next season?
“You’ve got to be so careful where you fall on the debate and the argument.
These are crucial moments for all clubs fighting it out down at the bottom end of the Championship, with those clubs needing to secure the short term futures of as many of their key players who are out of contract as possible, and the Latics would potential be really heavily damaged where they to be unable to agree any extensions.
However, although Cook was keen to point out the difficult decisions faced by the out of contract players, he did suggest that Wigan are doing all they can to convince as many players as possible to sign deals until the end of the campaign – and it will be up to those individuals to make their own choices.
Wigan have built a tight knit squad over the last couple of seasons and you could imagine that all of the players would ideally want to help see the job through and secure their Championship status, so that could put the Latics in a good place to make sure they hang onto at least some of their out of contract players.