38 face uncertain future, but Baps ready to talk

Alex Baptiste

Alex Baptiste

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BLACKPOOL have an incredible 38 players out of contract at the end of this season.

While 25 of those have further one-year options written into their deals, 13 will be able to walk free next summer.

Only three – Scott Robertson, Alberto Noguero and James Caton – are definitely tied to the club for at least another year.

And four of the starting 11 from Tuesday night’s 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest are in their option season and will be able to walk away from Bloomfield Road should a new deal not be signed in the meantime.

One of those is current skipper Alex Baptiste. The 26-year-old is regularly one of Pool’s top performers and his availability would no doubt spark interest from Premier League clubs.

But he says it’s something he has not thought about yet.

“I don’t know about my future to be honest. It’s not even crossed my mind yet,” admitted the defender.

“Obviously I’m in the last year of my contract and at some point I’ll worry about being in a job next season.

“All I’m focusing on is the team doing well at the moment. If we get chance to sit down and talk about the future, then I will.”

Baptiste has again been Blackpool’s best defender so far this season and was recently described by his manager as an “immovable object” in his starting 11.

Premier League football no doubt beckons in the future for the former Mansfield man but he hopes it can be in a Pool shirt.

“My main aim is to finish in the top two of the Championship. I hope I can play again in the Premier League for Blackpool.

“To come so close last season and get beaten in the final, I really don’t want to go back into the play-offs.”

In the absence of club captain Barry Ferguson in recent weeks, Baptiste has been handed the captain’s armband.

He admits he’s not a natural leader but hopes the responsibility can improve that side of his game.

He said: “People who know me off the pitch will tell you I’m not that vocal. Now I’m one of the senior players here, I need to start to be more vocal on the pitch.

“I’ve been here a long time, and it’s something I need to work on.

“But I do feel I can help a lot of my team-mates out and I should do it more often.”

- BOB Harris has returned to Blackpool after his month-long loan to Rotherham.

The 25-year-old made five appearances for the Millers and scored in their 3-0 win over Aldershot last weekend.