Fireside Chats: contract or no contract edition

Michael Steele

Earlier today we discussed impending contract expirations. You know what we think, but what do the players themselves think of the matter?

In case you missed it, Mark gave us his opinion on three important contracts that expire soon. I'm inclined to agree with him, but Dougie Freedman is still new to the club, and it's difficult to tell what he will do. In the meantime, Stuart Holden is doing what he does best: and that is putting one foot in front of the other, taking things one day at a time. He said,

With this injury, I just want to get back playing every week. I have a job on my hands just to get back in the team. They have worked me back in slowly and everything has been at the right pace. First and foremost my thoughts are to be playing week in week out for Bolton.

I want to have that feeling of playing 90 minutes and winning games and feeling like I am back in the full swing of things, I am so close to that I don't want to let anything distract me. Those things (contracts) will take care of themselves. Those discussions will take place when the time is right when everyone is comfortable with it. I have been out for a long time, it's important for me to prove myself again and that I can get back to the levels I was at before.

On another level, one that would not be tactful for him to mention, he also needs to prove that he still has it. Before the injury, he was one of the most exciting prospects in England, and while I'm sure it won't take much to drum up that buzz again, it is something that needs to be done before he can think about going to another club.

Even if he does need to do some work on the market, one group he certainly does not need to prove himself to is the fans.

The fans gave me a great reception and I hope to repay their support and encouragement over the last year and a half. Even when I warmed up the first time, I got a nice reception. But when I was coming on, the goosebumps kicked in. I tried not to react because I was focused on coming on. But it was impossible not to hear that. It was a great moment for me, it's just a shame the game ended like it did.

Dougie Freedman also spoke to the press about another player who is due for a contract renewal (we hope), Marcos Alonso,

He was fantastic... [H]e had an offer (from Fiorentina) but we turned it down, but he looked me in the eye and said ‘if I stay, then I'll give you 100 per cent'. I can't sing his praises enough because fair play to the kid, he's taken it the right way.

When I arrived Marcos just needed an opportunity. I felt one or two of the fringe players were maybe not that fit but we've worked very hard for six weeks, giving them a pre-season really, and now we're getting the benefit of seeing these players play. When I get asked the question next week, why am I changing the team again? I'll tell you the answer - it's because we need to get these players in the team again.

This attitude has paid dividends not only with Alonso, but also with the likes of Marvin Sordell and Josh Vela. May it long continue.

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