DEAN SAUNDERS has begun planning for next season by offering 13 players new contracts – but others will have to wait to see if they have a future at The Racecourse while striker Marc Williams has been released.
Saunders only has eight players – Mark Creighton, Chris Blackburn, Jay Harris, Dean Keates, Nat Knight-Percival, Adrian Cieslewicz, Andy Morrell and Mathias Pogba – under contract going into next season but has begun negotiations with most of his first team squad members now the current owners have agreed to sell their interest in the club.
Chris Maxwell, Joslain Mayebi, Curtis Obeng, Neil Ashton, Jamie Tolley, Lee Fowler and Andy Mangan have all been offered new deals along with Johnny Hunt, Kai Edwards, Declan Walker, Jack Deaman, Nick Rushton and Obi Anoruo.
But a number of the players have been targeted by other clubs and Saunders expects some to move on.
“Neil Ashton and Lee Fowler have got other clubs they have been speaking to,” said Saunders. “Andy Mangan has been offered a new contract but he has got other options as well.
“Chris Maxwell was offered that in January but hasn’t signed it. And from what he was telling me, he’s got other clubs chasing him so we might lose him.
“With us not being able to nail them down, this was always a dangerous situation to be in.
“There is no doubt that we are going to lose a few players I don’t want to lose because we have given them a bit of breathing space to find other options.
“I couldn’t nail them down when I wanted to because obviously we didn’t know know who was going to own the club and what I can offer them.”
Working on a reduced budget, Saunders added: “There are some that I can’t offer the same amount of money to who are probably just going to think about it.
“With the budget being the way it is, I am going to have to have a smaller squad again next season and I am unable to offer some of them the money they were earning this year.”
Saunders, who saw his side lose in the play-off semi-finals against Luton Town, has not released Frank Sinclair, Marvin Andrews and Gareth Taylor but the trio will have to wait to see if they are offered new deals and are free to find new clubs.
“I am just waiting on what the budget is going to be before I know what to offer them,” said Saunders. “I have to speak to Gareth at a later date, I have not really discussed what we are doing yet.
“We have eight contracted for next year and there are some I have not officially released.
“I have just told them that at the moment, we can’t afford to do anything with them, but as the summer goes on, we might be able to offer them something.
“But they are allowed to go and get themselves fixed up somewhere else.”
Yet to speak to Christian Smith or Wes Baynes, Saunders has released Marc Williams.
“Marc has got options and I am going to let him go,” said Saunders. “I think it might do him good. His brother Mike has gone away and has got regular football.”
Revealing that Knight-Percival and Cieslewicz are committing their futures to the club, Saunders added: “Nat has been offered a new deal already, he just hasn’t put his name on it yet. But I have a verbal agreement with him.
“And Adrian’s contract has been extended by another year.”
Saunders admitted that Hunt, Edwards, Walker, Deaman, Rushton and Anoruo would be allowed to go out on loan next term, although they could be part of his immediate plans if they impress in pre-season.
“They have been offered deals to similar sort of circumstances as we had last year where we loan them out and it doesn’t eat into my budget.
“It is a way of keeping the young boys at the club because we are desperate to get out of the league and need all the money we can get so it’s one way of not releasing them too early when they are not fully developed, and give them a chance to play against men for a year.
“I will be looking to do that with most of them next year.
“If some of them come back and impress in pre-season I might keep them with me depending on the budget.”
Saunders commits future to Wrexham
Dean Saunders has committed his future to the club - and he believes Wrexham can challenge for promotion again next season.
Saunders, who took charge in October 2008, has taken up the option of continuing his one-year rolling contract and believes success is on the horizon.
“The budget is going to be slightly less than last year,” said Saunders. “But I feel that, providing I can keep the majority of what we had last year and just add to it, we can improve on last season.
“We did well last year. It is a challenge and if we can improve the team a little bit which I think I can, then as a club we can go forward and try and get out of the league.
“We came close, I don’t think the league will be as strong as it was last year without Crawley. And if Luton go up, there is another £2million budget and ours is a three times less than that.”
Saunders expects to lose some players who have been offered new deals but is looking to make three or four new signings to boost Wrexham’s promotion bid.
“We have done well this year and we are going to lose a few of them which I will be really disappointed about because I have spent 18 months coaching them and improving them,” said Saunders.
“For us to make it work I am going to have to bring maybe three or four players in looking at it at the moment.
“The main thing I wanted to do yesterday was to try and get some of the players we want to keep tied down so some of them are thinking about what I have offered them and gone away.
“And I will be speaking to them in the next couple of days.”
See full story in the Leader