Leeds United midfielder Eunan O’Kane has said that there are a lot of players on long term contracts who could be disappointed with their playing time next season.
The Whites have endured a difficult campaign after their early hopes of securing a play off spot, and following Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Reading, sit 13th in the Championship, 11 points adrift of those fighting it out in the top six of England’s second tier.
While insisting that the focus is still on the current campaign, first team mainstay O’Kane, who scored the own goal which handed the Royals a point in his 28th appearance of the season, says that the contractual situation of many of the players means that much of the squad are playing for a place in next season’s side.
He told Leeds Live: “I’m not sure if there’s many out of contract, there’s only one or two at the very maximum, most of us are on quite long-term contracts.
“There’s a new manager come in and we have to fight for our places. If anyone needs any more motivation, that’s it.
“Next year is a long way off at this stage, regardless of where we are in the league we want to win games.”
Of the squad, Pablo Hernandez is the biggest name whose contract expires this summer, while Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s loan deal also runs out, but most of the side are tied down until 2019 onwards.
Football Insider verdict
After the campaign Leeds have had, it is clear some major changes are needed, and that must start with the playing squad. However, the contractual situation at Elland Road could be both a boost and a burden to Heckingbottom, depending on who is the focus of attention. If a player Leeds do not want to let go comes under interest, then it is the Whites who have the bargaining power and will be able to demand a premium price. However, if they want to move a player on, and said player is reluctant, he could sit on his contract until it expires, which fills a gap and drains resources which could be used for a potential recruit.
In other Leeds United news, the club must snap up this 21-year-old from Newcastle United on loan.