Bowyer fears loss of Blackpool's star players this summer

Kyle Vassell
Kyle Vassell

Blackpool manager Gary Bowyer has admitted he fears losing some of his best players for free this summer.

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Fourteen Seasiders players will be out of contract at the end of the current season.

Among them are top scorer Kyle Vassell and senior men Kelvin Mellor, Clark Robertson, Jay Spearing and Mark Cullen.

In fact, the only first-team regulars who are under contract for next season are Curtis Tilt, Ollie Turton and Jimmy Ryan.

Loan players Joe Lumley, Sean Longstaff and Viv Solomon-Otabor will return to their parent clubs when their Pool deals expire at the end of the season.

Bowyer has encouraged the club’s hierarchy to enter into negotiations with a number of players, but given the off-field situation at Bloomfield Road this is yet to happen.

It is understood Bowyer asked the club to sit down with players following Blackpool’s play-off triumph in May of last year but those meetings never materialised.

The Pool boss admitted: “We’ve got several out of contract, which is worrying for me personally and for the club as well.

“We need to try to sit down but obviously there’s stuff happening off-the-pitch which is totally out of my control.

“But we want to get on with recruiting for next season and the first bit of that, in my opinion, is tying down the players we want to keep here.

“In an ideal world that would have already been sorted but with what’s happening here it’s not exactly ideal.

“We’ve just got to wait and see what happens. I’m the same as all the other supporters who are just waiting to see what will become of it.

“At the end of the day, I can’t bear any grudges with those players who go on and better themselves.

“That’s what I said to them the very first minute I walked in two years ago. I want them to be the best players they can be, to make the most of their careers and get to the highest possible level they can.

“The fact that some of them are out of contract and will be free transfers in the summer makes them even more attractive to the clubs higher up in the Championship.

“I think whoever goes, if they do go, go with my blessing because they’ve achieved what I’ve asked them to do.

“It’s been ongoing and we’ve been trying to get answers. Hopefully we can try and thrash something out as quickly as possible now we have a clearer picture of where we think we’ll be next season.”