Gordon Bennett! Hendo offered new deal!
A number of Watford`s senior playing staff are yet to open contract talks with the club, it has been confirmed today the Watford Observer. Somewhat unsurprisingly the focus will evidently be on youth next season as the Hornet`s look once again to cut their cloth accordingly - (whatever division the Golden Boys do battle in) , as four Academy Grads have all begun talks regarding new deals.
Backup 'keeper Richard Lee, who was only offered a year this time last year is in talks whilst impressive young centre half Dale Bennett is thankfully on that list as is, surprisingly in my book, (but other regulars to this site will disagree), Liam Henderson. The Gateshead-born forward has now clocked up 21 sub appearances for the club without any real contribution, yet in the opinion of Mr Mackay, it`s enough to warrant talks over a new deal at the Vic.
Finally, full back, and league ever-present Aidy Mariappa has begun talks following speculation that he would be offered an extension on a deal that runs out next Summer last week.
Not yet offered new deals are senior pro`s Jon Harley, John Eustace and Will Hoskins, whilst young`uns Lewis Young (currently flopping on loan at League Two Hereford), Billy Gibson (who recently trialed with today`s opponents Leicester) and Jonathan North, (a man who's already been released once by the 'Orns).
Skipper Jay DeMerit has already confirmed he will only discuss his future once his World Cup campaign with the American`s is out the way.
Not that any of this means the likes of Eustace, Harley and Hoskins will be leaving however, as Malky was keen to re-iterate:
"Not at all. It is just this is the time when it is all starting." Said the gaffer.
"We have got to talk to players and do the best for them and the club and this is now the time when negotiations have started."
Hoskins and Eustace were both signed during the carefree days of Aidy Boothroyd and are likely to be amongst the higher earners at the club along with Captain DeMerit, however Jon Harley was the only economical Summer acquisition of Boothroyd`s ill-fated final campaign as the purse-strings tightened severely.
For the likes of Bennett and Lee, next year really could be critical if they are to stay in WD18. With the departure of first-choice 'keeper Scott Loach seemingly very likely, Lee could finally get his gloves on that number one jersey after some eight years of waiting, Dale Bennett`s impressive breakthrough season may well be enough to persuade Malky that renewing Jay`s doubtless hefty contract is not in the club`s best wishes financially.
It seems likely that if the Hoskins-Harley-Eustace trio are to remain Golden Boys though, pay-cuts will be the order of the day. However, with a lack of experience running through the first-team squad, can Malky afford to do without their cumulative league experience?
It`s going to be an interesting few months…
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Is Malky right in offering Henderson, Lee, Bennett and Mariappa new deals? Would you retain the services of Eustace, Hoskins and Harley? Are Jonathan North and Billy Gibson`s days at the Vic` numbered? Let US know what YOU think! Vital Watford is all about fan input, so register and join the debate!