Players must take blame for relegation, says Croft

David Cuffley Winger Lee Croft's Norwich City future was likely to be close to the top of the agenda for manager Bryan Gunn as he sat down for talks with his players today.

David Cuffley

Winger Lee Croft's Norwich City future was likely to be close to the top of the agenda for manager Bryan Gunn as he sat down for talks with his players today.

Croft, player of the season, was on the panel at last night's supporters' forum at Carrow Road, but gave no clues about his intentions when his contract runs out in June, by which time he will be 24 and a free agent.

He has been lnked with a string of Premier League and Championship clubs, but has been offered new terms by the Canaries, although that would now mean League One football next season.

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Gunn confirmed he was set to talk to Croft today.

"Lee is a fantastic player and has served this club well. He's got himself into a situation where his contract is up at the end of this season," said Gunn.

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"We have, still on the table, offered Lee a new contract. He's certainly within his rights to take as much time as he wants to think over that.

"In our present situation, and after Sunday, I'm sure he's got more time to think of it as well. We do have a meeting pencilled in so we will be speaking again about his contract situation and I hope in the coming days we will be able to give you an update on that."

While not pushed to answer questions about his plans, Croft admitted the players had to take the blame for relegation.

He said: "You've all got your opinions and you're voicing them today, but I think, from my point of view, we haven't been good enough this year as players. The results have shown that.

"We've been relegated because we haven't won enough games to be out of the bottom three and I think most of the blame has to go to the 11 players who take the field."

Gunn said it was business as usual as he prepared for individual meetings with his squad.

He said: "I've got meetings with other players as well because until I'm told otherwise, I'm managing the football club in the way I see fit.

"Sammy Clingan, Darel Russell, Gary Doherty, people like that - it will be a big ask, a big test for them to play League One football.

"There are players out of contract, so some of those wages will disappear. A lot of the players under contract have ratchets in their contract to say that their wages go down in League One, so there will be savings there, and whoever the manager is he will have to decide what squad he wants to take into League One next season and that might mean the sale of some of the players to generate some transfer funds.

"There are a lot of questions and I don't want to play my hand too soon when I go into the board on Wednesday but whether it's me or any other manager, he's got those things to deal with."

Gunn listed 19 professionals under contract for next season but would be stretched to field an experienced senior eleven from the list.

Contracted players - David Marshall, Jon Otsemobor, Adam Drury, Dejan Stefanovic, Sammy Clingan, Jamie Cureton, Gary Doherty, Declan Rudd, Wes Hoolahan, Darel Russell, Matty Pattison, Cody McDonald, Michael Spillane, Korey Smith, Kris Renton, Tom Adeyemi, Chris Martin, Damon Lathrope, Luke Daley.

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