Contract situation is sorted - Doncaster

Norwich City chief executive Neil Doncaster has denied the club faces a potential player exodus this summer.

Norwich City chief executive Neil Doncaster has denied the club faced a potential player exodus this summer.

Doncaster was reacting to dressing room concerns that manager Peter Grant could lose up to 13 members of his first team squad reportedly out of contract during the close season.

The Canaries' chief executive confirmed only four of the club's current playing personnel - Dion Dublin, Peter Thorne, Craig Fleming and Paul McVeigh - would be free to leave Carrow Road should they not figure in Grant's future plans.

“In broad terms it's not the case that 13 players will be out of contract,” insisted Doncaster, responding to comments made by Darren Huckerby in Wednesday's EDP.

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“Nine of those 13 players have options in the club's favour. You wouldn't expect me to talk about specific contracts, but if a player signed a two-year deal with an option for a further year then he is not free to leave after two years - if the club wish to retain the services of that individual then we can. Any speculation regarding nine players who could be out of contract is therefore not correct.”

Doncaster denied the current situation was a by product of the club's decision to replace previous manger Nigel Worthington earlier this season.

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“No - it has nothing whatsoever to do with a change of manager,” he said. “Neither do I believe it creates any greater uncertainty. It's always been the case that we are dealing with players who have options on their existing contracts. This coming summer will be no different to any other in that respect. The manager will indicate what he wants to do in regard to the playing staff and the club will act accordingly.”

The explanation will no doubt be welcomed by Huckerby, who clearly had a different impression when he told the EDP on Monday: “How can you play when you have 13 people out of contract, whether you want them or not?”

Doncaster reiterated that Norwich faced the same issues as the rest of the football world, saying: “We are certainly not unique in this respect. Other clubs operate with player options in contractual terms and they will have similar situations to deal with.

“Perhaps the changing nature of the football industry over the last two or three seasons has meant that there'll be more players out of contract this summer, but it is certainly not a new issue.”

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