Pool could lose young pair over contract row

Mark Waddington
Mark Waddington
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Blackpool could be set to lose their two most promising young talents.

Dom Telford and Mark Waddington have burst on to the first-team scene, having come through the club’s academy ranks.

Striker Telford’s goal against Rotherham was followed by midfielder Waddington’s man of the match display against Aston Villa.

But the 18-year-olds could be set to walk away from the club after contract talks stalled last week.

It’s understood Pool are unwilling to budge from their set wage structure for any youth player progressing into the senior ranks.

Neither player has yet signed a professional deal, meaning both could move elsewhere this summer for a small compensation fee.

The situation will alarm manager Lee Clark, who has praised the pair.

He said: “We need to sit down with them and get it sorted. There are offers on the table and it’s about getting them tied down for the future.

“I hope they realise I’m a manager who gives young players a chance. Hopefully that’s more important to them than the finance.

“In a year’s time they might have 50 games to their name and they will be in a much better position then.”

Telford and Waddington were first offered professional contracts at the end of last season, since when interest in the pair has grown.

Supporters now fear they could follow in the footsteps of fellow youth-teamer Harrison McGahey, who left the club in the summer after being handed a first-team chance by Barry Ferguson in April last year.

The centre-half rejected Pool’s offer and joined League One Sheffield United for a fee believed to be around £50,000. He has made 21 appearances so far this season.

Youth team keeper Connor Hunt also turned down a contract offer at Pool last summer and joined Everton on a three-year deal.

Clark has a history of giving young players a chance – 18 academy graduates broke into his senior Birmingham squad over two seasons.

He added: “I like to bring young players in and give them a chance. Dom and Mark are in our squad now and have done well.

“I also had young Henry Cameron on the bench at Villa. I want to bring players through and help them develop. “These lads should show the rest of the youngsters there is a path into the set-up.”