Fleetwood Town may be set for a busy rebuilding project
Fleetwood Town stand to potentially lose a dozen players this summer from their first team squad alone.
Though they wouldn’t leave in June like in every other season so far, there are at least a dozen Town players whose contracts are due to run out at the end of this campaign.
The Cod Army have enlisted the temporary help of six loan players this season, all of whom see their spells over at the end of the campaign.
Harry Souttar is the standout name, although all have made good impressions.
The Stoke City man is in his second spell on the Fylde coast, and with his performances earning him recognition across the whole of the EFL, it could be unlikely that there is scope for the Cod Army to make his move permanent – or that the Potters would allow him away for another temporary stint.
The Australian international’s importance is closely followed by that of Barrie McKay.
It was no secret that Joey Barton felt the acquisition of the Scot on loan from Swansea City was a coup and his performances showed that early assessment to be right.
With the season looking like it will be finished at some point, Town will undoubtedly look to push on in a bid to seal promotion to the Championship.
Another of the key players would be Jordan Rossiter, who suffered a season-ending injury before the turn of the year.
A main man prior to his injury, Rossiter was breaking up play excellently and with his loan contract and full-time contract at Rangers both coming to an end this summer, Town will hope they have made a case for them to be his new employers.
Rossiter had been at Poolfoot Farm during his rehabilitation up until the recent lockdown, after which players had been sent to train from home.
Two players will certainly be going back to Everton in the summer, namely January arrivals Callum Connolly and Lewis Gibson.
The pair are still highly rated at Goodison Park, and although they will remain on the books at the Toffees, it isn’t guaranteed that another loan will not figure in their respective futures.
Centre-back Gibson’s spell at Fleetwood has been his first away from Everton whereas Connolly had already spent half the season with Lincoln City.
Further loans may do their development good and Fleetwood have already proven that they can aid player growth.
The last loanee is Norwich City’s Isak Thorvaldsson, who has seen the least game time of those six players at Highbury.
That isn’t to say he isn’t well thought of at the club, just that his services have not been required as much as others up until this point.
It’s a case of wait and see as to whether Thorvaldsson may return or what the future holds for him.
When it comes to permanent contracts running out, one name stands out: Kyle Dempsey.
A revelation in the early part of the season, having come back in from the cold, Town’s midfielder is a player that the club wants to tie down.
Barton discussed in a press conference earlier on in the season that they wanted to tie down Dempsey to a new deal but nothing has been made public as yet about whether those intentions proved successful.
Interest will certainly be there for the midfielder, who has shown his quality on multiple occasions this campaign and was linked with a move into the Championship in January.
Glenn Whelan has proven a key part of Barton’s side since his arrival on a free transfer.
He signed a six-month deal that did go on longer than the usual contracts, taking into account Euro 2020 as clubs with players at international competitions do receive money from their respective football associations.
That contract still will not be long enough – and the Euros are no longer taking place this summer – but with his wealth of experience and Barton talking in glowing terms about his fitness and application, the 36-year-old may feature again next season.
Two other senior members of the squad with time running out on their deals are Matt Gilks and Dean Marney.
It’s unlikely that Gilks will be given another deal, with Billy Crellin acquiring first team minutes this campaign.
That is unless he accepts a third choice spot which could see his mentoring of Crellin and fellow keeper Alex Cairns continue with a promotion for the former.
Marney has not been seen for some time on the Fylde coast, citing mental health problems, and his time at Town will end.
Lastly, Conor McAleny and Dan Mooney also have their deals running out.
Both have shown glimpses that they may be potential first team regulars at Highbury but seem out of favour and may be sacrificed in order to use other players or bring in replacements.
It may depend on the business that Town are able to do as to whether the pair stay on – and on their ambitions.
Should all of these dozen players leave permanently, it would free up a lot of Barton’s budget to bring in new players, although the effects of losing so many players in a squad may go beyond financial.
Some of the departures will be out of Fleetwood’s hand, some the opposite.
But with the success in the January window and all acquisitions hitting the ground running, it is an exciting time to watch Fleetwood make their moves in the transfer market.