I’ve covered the goalkeepers and defenders, so now it’s time to look at the midfielders out of contract at Wednesday this summer. With two first-teamers and several 23s players into their final year, here are my thoughts on what we should do, and why.
Sam Hutchinson, 30, is a player a lot of our fans hold in the highest of esteem. The tough-tackling midfielder has made close to 150 appearances for us since joining, first on loan, with the deal becoming permanent in 2014.
Hutchinson has been a mainstay in central midfield so far this season, whether we’ve played with three in the middle, or two. Therefore, the decision on his future will be a difficult one. Garry Monk is a fan of his and prefers him in the main to Massimo Luongo at the minute.
Hutchinson has several things going for him, such as his current run in the side, our lack of tough tackling and aggressive midfielders, and his ability to deputise at centre half. However, his disciplinary record will always be a concern, especially if booked early in games. And, he’s had his fair share of fitness and injury issues as well. If he were to stay, I’d only offer a short-term deal. But, it’s still an if for me.
I’ve always been a fan of Kieran Lee because he goes about his work in the right way. The 31-year-old penned a one-year deal to extend his stay with us, but it’s coming to an end this summer.
Since joining Wednesday, Lee has made over 200 appearances, weighing in with twenty-two goals and thirteen assists. After a torrid time with injuries, he’s managed fifteen appearances in the league this season, starting nine times.
I think Lee still gives us something as a team when he’s on the pitch. However, if it were a straight shootout between bringing him or Luongo into the team, I’d probably opt for the latter. We need new blood and more competition, and I’d not feel it wise to keep both Lee and Hutchinson.
Dutch midfielder Joey Pelupessy signed for us in January 2018 for around £400k. Since then, he’s gone on to make sixty appearances for us, but following former manager Jos Luhukay’s departure, he became a bit-part player. He’s only managed four appearances in the league so far this season, starting three times.
It doesn’t look good for Pelupessy in terms of his future here. There are four central midfielders ahead of him in the pecking order, so, a parting of ways is likely to be the best solution for both parties. At 26 years old, Pelupessy needs to be playing regularly.
Connor Kirby, 21, is currently out on loan at Macclesfield Town in League Two, where he’s established himself as a mainstay of their midfield set up. Darryl McMahon’s men are currently experiencing bad times off the pitch. So, perhaps, we will see him recalled and sent elsewhere if matters don’t improve.
In terms of his future here, Kirby wants to play football, and the handful of times I’ve seen him in action I’ve been impressed. Could he be worth a new deal and another loan spell maybe?
Jack Stobbs is a player who seems to have been around at Wednesday forever, but he’s only turned out for us on six occasions so far. The 22-year-old, who has been a prominent figure in the 23s while at the club, is out on loan at Scottish topflight side Livingston but is currently sidelined through injury.
It’s his second spell away from Wednesday, after a loan spell at Port Vale in 17/18 which didn’t go as planned. Stobbs is a wide player, and it’s an area we will ideally add to in the summer ahead of next season, but I’m not sure he’s up to the level we need.
Preston, 21, was handed a one-year contract extension at the backend of last season, so, he’s a player we believe has potential. The midfielder has made four senior appearances for us so far and is part of first-team training regularly.
Garry Monk will no doubt be running the rule over the Scotland youth cap and deciding what the best decision for all parties is. Be it another extension and potentially a loan move for senior minutes, or a parting of ways.