Bernard McNally expects ‘difficult’ Shrewsbury Town contract talksby Lewis Cox
Contract negotiations between star Shrewsbury turns could become 'like cat and mouse', believes former Town man Bernard McNally.
Shrews boss Sam Ricketts said the COVID-19 pandemic has meant talks on new deals have been shelved for the time being in what is an uncertain time for clubs financially.
Half-a-dozen members of the first-team squad at Montgomery Waters Meadow see their terms expire on June 30, midfielder Josh Laurent and defender Omar Beckles two of the standout names.
Goalkeepers Joe Murphy and Harry Burgoyne are also out of contract, as are midfield pair Romain Vincelot and Brad Walker, as well as a handful of academy graduates. Former favourite McNally says talks could feature sticking points for both parties.
"They're both decent players, aren't they," former Gay Meadow star McNally said of Beckles and Laurent, who made 32 and 42 appearances respectively for Town this season.
"I think Omar has improved. It's whether they view him as a full time regular.
"I feel a little sorry for him because for 18 months he played left-back when he's not left-footed, so I take my hat off to him.
"Josh is a little different because there'd been a few clubs interested.
"Maybe it's not just from Shrewsbury's side, maybe Josh dwindled on giving any decision to Shrewsbury, you just don't know. They might have other thoughts about moving their career forward."
McNally continued: "You have to take all of that into consideration. It's a difficult one.
"The only way around that is if you throw money at players, but they have to be pretty special if you're going to do that to possible recoup it or make a lot of money. They have to be exceptional players.
"It's probably a little bit of cat and mouse at this time, I would think."
Beckles, 28, has spent three seasons at Salop while speculation was rife over the future of Laurent, 25, in January, with reported interest from Championship clubs.
Popular defender Beckles this week became a father for the first time.
Should League One clubs vote to play the season out to a conclusion – which would almost certainly run beyond June – talks will turn to the significant number of lower league players who are out of contract.