We have several defenders out of contract this summer, and all three are full-backs. The full-backs at the club have received a lot of criticism over recent times. So, here are my thoughts on the three who have less than twelve months remaining on their current deals, and what I think we, and they, should do.
Ash Baker, 23, joined Wednesday from Cardiff back in 2017. He made his first start for us in the 5-1 win against Norwich on the final day of the 17/18 campaign, before going on to play twelve times in all competitions the following season. However, since December of last year, we’ve not seen him in first-team action.
The right-back position is one where Wednesday have plenty of options. Liam Palmer, Moses Odubajo and Dominic Iorfa are all ahead of Baker in the pecking order. In the case of injury or suspension, as we’ve seen with Liam Palmer recently, Baker is still overlooked.
At 23, Baker still has the potential to make a good career for himself within the game, but he needs to be playing, and I, unfortunately, can’t see that happening here. So, a parting of ways is the best for both parties.
Morgan Fox has come on leaps and bounds recently, and since the Cardiff game, the 26-year-old has established himself as our first-choice left-back. While many asked questions of the former Charlton man’s ability to play at this level, he’s more than answered them with some of his performances this season.
Fox, who can also deputise at left centre half if required, had it tough for long spells here, especially from sections of the fan base. However, he showed the strength of character and determination to come through the other side, and we need more of that in and around the place.
It’s never going to be a case of Wednesday having four of the league’s best full-backs. Fox is steady and, therefore, worthy of another contract in my opinion. When we strengthen in the position, it will give the former Wales U21 cap the challenge to fight for his place.
Matt Penney, 21, came through the ranks at Wednesday, and after starring for the 23s, he made the breakthrough into the first team in the 18/19 season. I think Wednesday fans were pleased to see him, primarily due to the rave reviews he’d received for his performances under Neil Thompson.
Penney immediately added plenty of running and energy to the side and even made time for a couple of tricks. However, following surgery on a recurring shoulder injury, he hasn’t had the opportunity to get more minutes under his belt for the first team.
The left sider joined former manager Jos Luhukay on loan at FC St. Pauli. He hasn’t featured in the first team for several games, due to injury, at the time of writing. After unsuccessful loan spells previously at Bradford City and Mansfield Town, I hope this one works out for him.
In terms of his future with us, it’s a hard one to call. We saw glimpses of a promising player in 18/19, but I’m not sure if he’s better suited to left-back or to playing further forward. You could say there are several players ahead of him in the pecking order, but then again, he does have potential.