New contracts will soon be the talk of Shrewsbury Town

It is around this time in the season that managers begin fielding questions from journalists about players out of contract in the summer.

Shaun Whalley, Ro-Shaun Williams and Dave Edwards (AMA)
Shaun Whalley, Ro-Shaun Williams and Dave Edwards (AMA)

Shrewsbury Town have several members of the first-team squad in that position with the campaign two months from its climax.

Steve Cotterill is, sadly, back in Bristol Royal Infirmary Hospital and he continues his most important of battles with his health – while at the same time miraculously managing to help guide things and call the shots over 100 miles away.

Contract talks and renewals are, as with transfer business in January, out of Aaron Wilbraham and David Longwell’s remit. The duo coach the players on a day-to-day basis and keep the manager informed on developments of note.

And yet, while the manager is not able to take his rightful place inside his office at the Sundorne Castle training ground, Wilbraham has moved to ensure that his former Bristol City boss Cotterill ‘will not miss a trick’ when it comes to shaping his squad and, with that, offering players fresh terms for next season, or letting them move on.

First-team squad regulars such as Shaun Whalley, Ro-Shaun Williams, Dave Edwards, Sean Goss and Daniel Udoh are four of the headline names whose Shrewsbury contracts expire in a few months.

They are joined by Donald Love, Scott Golbourne, Brad Walker and Leon Clarke as well as David Davis and Curtis Main – the duo who signed on short-term six-month deals in January. Youngsters Ryan Sears and Ryan Barnett are in similar positions.

Some of the above may well have ‘options’ in their contracts, these are common and can work in the player or club’s favour, essentially extensions that can be triggered to renew deals.

Influential attacking star Whalley, 34 in August, has made clear his desire to stay on for an almost unheard of seventh season at the club.

Hometown hero Edwards has strongly hinted that he will be hanging up his boots and calling time on his playing career come the end of his deal in June.

For others there are decisions to be made in what can only be an anxious and uncertain time, particularly when factoring in the current Covid circumstances, and with no manager’s door to knock on if questions needed answering.

Wilbraham, though, who this time last year was in exactly that position as a 40-year-old striker out of contract at Rochdale just before the pandemic struck, explained that Cotterill, working with chief executive Brian Caldwell and head of recruitment Keith Burt, will have a solid grip on the situation.

The stand-in boss said: “What I will say about the manager is that he does not miss a trick.

“He doesn’t let anything slide like that, he will be all over on that, 100 per cent. I don’t think it’s anything myself and Dave need to worry about.

“I know the manager and Brian Caldwell will be all over that.”

The former veteran striker admitted his best advice to players whose contracts are expiring was to look after themselves physically and keep putting in performances.

He added on his personal experiences: “It’s not nice, playing to the age I played to I was always in the last few months of my contract because you weren’t given more than a year once you turned 33 or 34, you weren’t going to get those two-year deals any more.

“There is uncertainty, it’s hard for players, that want to perform and earn new contracts. I’ve been in that position so I know what it’s like.

“The best thing you can do is just keep working as hard as possible so you can earn a new contract, or if you don’t then you move somewhere else in great condition.

“Players have to keep looking after themselves and working as hard as possible to ensure whatever happens next in their career that they will do as well as they can do.”

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