AFC Telford United manager Cowan has kicked off his summer rebuild at the New Bucks Head and sealed his first new signing – the popular return of defender Lee Vaughan – late last week.
The Bucks have also so far revealed three players from last season, Brendon Daniels, Adam Walker and Zak Lilly, are staying at the club, while Henry Cowans has been invited to prove his fitness in pre-season. Non-league contracts expired in early May.
Cowan feels that players under contract have a ‘power’ and should be grateful of their security. More than 1,000 EFL players are out of contract on June 30 and uncertainty around the finances of many lower league clubs means the pool of free agents hunting for a new home will grow, with clubs unable to commit to lucrative deals.
“I think players under contract should be really appreciative of that because it becomes power,” said former Shrewsbury defender Cowan.
“Unless you’re a 25 or 30-goal a season player, or unless you’ve got a contract at the moment, you’ll want to get tied up sooner rather than later.
“The pool of players is just growing and growing more so than previously, that will be a natural filter down from League One and League Two.
“For me, it’s had a knock-on effect. Yes, our budget has been hurt but I hope we can command some really good players.
“The reality is we can’t pay really big money, whoever we sign has to come for the whole package.
“Sometimes your currency doesn’t have to be financial, it can be facilities in place, the little one per cents we add to the environment that means players enjoy their football and being at the club.”
Cowan has released James McQuilkin, Darryl Knights, Jon Royle and Arlen Birch from his ranks and is expected to clarify the status of the remainder of last season’s squad in the coming weeks.
The Bucks boss added: “Players will talk about how they want to wait or assess their options, but I’d be advising players to get fixed up.
“I’m not saying get fixed up at the wrong club. Agents should be advising players to get fixed up with the right club, if it comes along, as soon as possible because the pool of players is going to be huge.”
Telford’s ‘Boost the Budget’ fundraiser, which began as a coronavirus survival fund before the club altered its description to instead back Cowan’s player budget, has reached almost £2,200 – with the manager donating £50 himself.