So who should Bolton Wanderers retain? There are a number of players of contract, some of whom are key figures and some who really are not at all.
As a basic premise I think in addition to keeping those players who have been key in the Championship we should look to keep some of those who will do a good job should we drop back into League One, which is unfortunately highly possible next season. This way we have a contingency in place in the form of trusted League One performers who can also act as back ups in the Championship.
Based on the above I am clearly assuming we will stay up but my views below would not change if we go down where a mixture of proven League One performers and some of our impressive youth products could create a good team next season.
This is one of the obvious ones. Alnwick has shown himself to be a Championship keeper and I can imagine some other teams may look at him at least as a back up. We need to tie him down to form the basis of what may well turn out to be a much changed defence next season.
Howard is a very marginal call for me and it entirely depends on whether Jake Turner is yet in a position to make the step up should Alnwick be ruled out. If Turner is judged to be ready, and indeed is not sold, then Howard should probably be let go. Having said that it is useful to have three keepers knocking about so if James Aspinall is too far off first team football to be that option then Howard may represent good value for a third choice stopper. That may also depend on finances and whether there is the budget for the luxury of three first team level keepers.
On balance I would say let go, but I would fully understand the opposite being the case.
Wheater isn’t getting any younger so would not be my first choice to keep on in centre back. Having said that he will still be useful next season, albeit I would hope as a squad player. At the very least he is one with another League One campaign left in him should that be necessary.
He is the centre back I would keep above the others. He is most likely to have a longer future at Championship level and would be a key player if we drop back into League One. The challenge is trying to find someone to partner him with Reece Burke potentially returning to West Ham United.
It is about time we said goodbye to the French centre back who has failed to make any form of impact this season. Another centre back should be brought in in his place, and hopefully one who can compete for a starting place.
He is an important player to keep on. I have never been his biggest fan and think have to who worship him are wide of the mark, but that does not mean I do not think he has a future. We will once again next season have a smaller squad so someone able to play at centre back and in defensive midfield will be useful to add depth. Not only that but he is a player showing real signs of improvement and it would be a shame for someone else to reap the benefits of that.
Henry is a tough one. He is my nominee for player of the season but at 35 how long does he have left in him as a midfield enforcer? This is a question I cannot answer and it is something he and Phil Parkinson will have to sit down and discuss. If the answer is yes he can then sign him up as we need a leader like him in the squad. If the answer is no then we should send him on his way thanking him for giving us the possibility of staying up.
Another seriously marginal case. If he can impress in the run in we should keep him. It would represent a risk but he is a player with plenty of ability and if we want players like that we need to take a risk or two to find them. If he can regain form and stay injury free we would get a fee selling him on.
Well well well. This one is going to divide opinion. The simple fact is Parkinson likes him and he is a key player for the manager. This season he has shown what he can bring to the team and should be rewarded in kind. He will though need to take a substantial pay cut, otherwise he can bugger off.
I really hoped that he would make the step up after showing promise in the run in last year. That has not happened but he is still a player I would look to keep around if the deal is right. We have to be realistic about how good our squad players can be and he is another I would back to perform in League One if we drop back in.
Wait your still here? Bye!
I was quite rude about Morais after his red card at Bristol City. He has since shown that he can contribute at this level so we should be looking to keep him on, also with one eye on League One. The argument against keeping him though is that Craig Noone and Will Buckley are not out of contract this summer and if we keep Sammy Ameobi too it would restrict the scope to try and bring in another higher quality winger. Ideally we can move on one, or even both, of Noone and Buckley, who have not worked out, on to create the necessary space. But Morais may need to be the make weight as we look to add quality.
Obviously yes. He is the only attacking player we own capable of pull some genuine quality out of the hat. He isn’t the most consistent but we need him around for the maverick factor he brings. He is one of the few on our books who I could see there being some other interest in, so we may well lose out while sticking to a realistic wage structure.
Who knows, pass.
No. He is 38 with a poor goal scoring record at this level, we need better, desperately.