Pool’s out of contract players made to wait

Blackpool manager Lee Clark
Blackpool manager Lee Clark
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Lee Clark will keep his out-of-contract players guessing about their future until after the season ends.

As many as 24 of Blackpool’s senior squad could head out of Bloomfield Road this summer as manager Clark plans for League One.

Clark has activated the 12-month extension options on Jose Cubero and Andrea Orlandi’s contracts over the past week but says the rest will have to wait.

The Pool boss said: “I’ll have personal meetings with the other players on the Sunday (May 3) after Huddersfield (the final game of the season).

“From then we will be focusing on the following season and everything will be sorted. We can move on then and not have to suffer any longer.

“We may make the odd decision in the couple of weeks before Huddersfield, but the one-to-one meetings will be the day after.”

Eleven players, including Cubero and Orlandi, have clauses in their contracts entitling the club to keep them for a further year, though Bobby Grant, Gary MacKenzie and Jacob Mellis are unlikely to be retained.

Cubero’s option had to be taken up by the start of this month under the terms of his contract, whereas the early activation of Orlandi’s extension was due to the player’s form.

Clark (right) said: “We’ve chosen to do Andrea’s now as he’s been a big player for us.

“I think there will have been plenty of clubs in the Championship looking at him.

“It’s a big positive to have Andrea for next season. He’ll be a massive asset in League One.

“He’s been a good player for us this year and he can be a fantastic player for us next season. He makes and scores goals. He and Cubero will be key players next season.”

Spaniard Orlandi was handed the captain’s armband for last month’s trip to Bournemouth and Clark added: “I think I showed that day how highly I think of him.

“I believe we can get another 40 per cent out of him when I get him super-fit. I know we can do that.

“With him and Jose we have two experienced players sorted for next season.

“Andrea came to see me on the coach back from Ipswich on Saturday to apologise for a mistake he made during the game. I respect that.

“I like what he’s about and he’s a tremendous technical player. He’ll cause big problems in League One.”