Blackpool manager Lee Clark revealed he was told not to select top teenage talents Mark Waddington and Dom Telford for Saturday’s vital Championship game against Millwall .
After banning the pair from first-team training on Friday after they had failed to agree professional contracts with the club, chairman Karl Oyston instructed the manager that both youth-team products were unavailable for selection.
Both have made a big impact since joining the first-team set-up – striker Telford’s goal earned Pool a point against Rotherham and midfielder Waddington was man of the match at Aston Villa in the FA Cup – but it has been reported they have been offered the same basic contract as any player graduating from the youth ranks.
Both informed the club last Thursday they were not accepting the offer, resulting in Oyston stepping in.
Clark admits the matter is out of his hands. He said: “The club have told me they can’t play until they have signed professional contracts.
“Something happened here with a young lad in the past who played and didn’t sign (a reference to Harrison McGahey, who joined Sheffield United last summer).
“I’m not blaming anyone. I just want a solution where they can be back in my squad.”
Telford and Waddington were due to play for the club’s youth team on Saturday but that game was postponed due to high winds.
It’s another bizarre chapter in a crazy season of off-field problems at Bloomfield Road and Clark admitted it has all taken its toll.
He added: “It’s been a sad and tough few days for me personally. I wasn’t speaking willy-nilly when I talked about how much I like giving young players a chance. I understand the club’s stance but I hope there can be a solution.
“I think the world of them both as young lads and young footballers.
“Mark was outstanding at Aston Villa, and one of the most pleasurable moments I’ve had since coming here was seeing Dom’s smile when he scored against Rotherham.
“I want them in my group. I don’t do finances – I’m a football manager and I don’t deal with player contracts.
“I’ve advised the chairman how important these players are to me and I want them around us.
“I can’t do any more. I’ve spoken to the pair of them about the situation.”
Henry Cameron, another youth team product, is set to sign a professional deal with Pool and will train with the senior squad today. The winger was a substitute at Aston Villa in the FA Cup.