Huddersfield Town manager Simon Grayson has wasted no time in beginning the overhaul of the squad in preparation for next season’s Championship campaign. Seven players have been released as they reach the end of their contracts, and there are likely to be a few leave for fees. Gary Naysmith, Gary Roberts, Danny Cadamarteri, Tommy Miller, Nathan Clarke, Aidan Chippendale and Simon Thomas have all been released, while new deals have been offered to striker Alan Lee, defender Tom Clarke plus goalkeepers Ian Bennett and Lloyd Atkinson.
The seven that have been released will certainly free up some of the wage bill, as Naysmith, Roberts, Cadamarteri and Miller will all have been on good contracts for League One. It’s mixed emotions in the Clarke family, as Huddersfield born brothers Nathan and Tom experience different emotions this summer. Gary Roberts had been linked with a move last summer, so it’s no surprise that he’s been refusing a new deal at the Galpharm, and I’m sure he will find himself a decent League One club for next term. Naysmith has been good for Town, but the emergence of Calum Woods at left back have limited his appearances, and we all wish him well in his attempts to get himself an employer for 2012/13. I’m sure there will be suitors.
Ian Bennett has been fantastic since joining in June 2010, and even though he is forty years of age, he definitely has Championship quality, and his experience will be invaluable next term. If I’m being honest, I am a little surprised that Alan Lee has been offered a new contract, as he does divide opinion like no other Town player I can ever remember. His supporters defend his style and scoring record, saying that he attracts defenders’ attention, therefore creating space for his teammates. His detractors say that he overuses his elbows and goes to ground way too easily for a man of his size. A lower league Emile Heskey, I guess you could say! There is no doubt that he is a battle hardened warrior who has been round the block a few times, so in that regard it maybe makes sense to keep him around for another season, especially as he has volunteered to take a fifty percent pay cut to stay on.
So, with seven released, and probably one or two sold to raise cash (not Rhodes!), who will be coming in this summer? The rumours are already starting up as you can imagine. We have a reputation as a club with money, so it stands to reason that we will be heavily linked with pretty much any player that becomes available. The positions that need attention are probably backups at full back, a central defender, midfielder and a forward, particularly if Jordan Rhodes is sold.
Damian Johnson could be the first new signing. The midfielder has spent the last two years of his Plymouth Argyle contract on loan at Town, as Argyle couldn’t afford to pay his wages. That contract has now expired, and he has been offered a permanent deal by Grayson. He has been largely excellent for us, and at 33 is another player whose experience will be crucial for next season. The first player most fans will be wanting to come to the club will be Sean Morrison. the centre back was on loan from Reading last season, and was fantastic in our promotion push. He became a firm fans’ favourite, and we all want to see him back on a permanent deal.
The newspapers are also linking Grayson with former Terrier Lee Peltier. The young defender/midfielder was sold by former manager Lee Clark to Leicester City last summer for £750,000 and the reported fee to re-sign him is around half a million. It’s a no brainer if there is any truth to the stories, as he was one of our better players. I would be delighted to see him back at the club. Defender Joel Lynch, of Nottingham Forest, is another name that Grayson is reported to be interested in bringing to West Yorkshire. The Welshman, who has been called up but not played for the national team, can play at left back or in central defence. However, injuries have limited his progress at the City Ground, and he has only averaged twenty appearances a season. A move and a fresh start could be just the ticket.
Jermaine Beckford is another name that has been strongly linked due to his links with Grayson. While he is a decent striker, and I welcomed the rumours on the podcast, I am now having serious reservations about him. He is only really proven at League One level, he hasn’t really impressed at Everton or Leicester. Also, I am not sure he is the best personality to have around either. However, Grayson obviously knows him and how to manage him, and he could be a decent signing.
While I have been writing this article, I have been logged into Twitter reading all the rumours going around. Names like Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Simeon Jackson are being bandied about, and if we could get Jackson I would be absolutely delighted. He’s proven at Championship level, and offers something completely different to what we already have. Taylor-Fletcher is a former Terrier, and while I liked him first time around, I would prefer we look elsewhere.
More and more names get linked all the time, and I’m sure there will be a fair few players going in and out of the club before the end of August!
Written by James Bartaby, We Are Going Up’s Huddersfield Town blogger
James tweets at @jamesb5374