As the end of the 2011/12 domestic season draws ever closer, talk of next season has already begun and for a high number of Northern Ireland players – that means securing themselves a contract for next season. Even though some players are more than two games from ending their years, their fate has already been sealed.
Sammy Clingan is set to leave Coventry City at the end of the season. The club confirmed last week that their club captain had refused their final offer – believed to be around £8,000 per week – and will instead walk away from the club in June.
Clingan joined the club from Norwich City in 2009 following their relegation to League One. Three season on and Clingan’s old club have just retained their status as a Premier League team and Coventry are staring down the barrel of dropping into League One themselves. Early signs are that he’ll attract interest from other Championshp sides and stay in the second flight of the English league.
Celtic’s Niall McGinn hasn’t quite been given the luxury of deciding his own fate. The midfielder, on loan at Brentford since January, is likely to be leaving Celtic at the end of the season. Celtic manager Neil Lennon has revealed he is keen to recruit three or four of “quality players” and that should see the exits of a handful of players.
McGinn’s contract expires in June, much like Mark Wilson, Darren O’Dea, Cha Du-Ri, Glenn Loovens and Daniel Majstorovic and it is likely he’ll be allowed to look elsewhere for regular football. Reports of his performances for Brentford have been solid but there has been very little talk of a permanent deal.
In positive news, Alan Mannus has pledged himself to St Johnstone for another season. Up until the arrival of former Northern Ireland international Steve Lomas at the club, Mannus had played second fiddle to Peter Enckelman. It had been speculated that Mannus was plotting a move to find regular first-team football but with his move to being Lomas’ number one, Alan is clearly happy to stay.
In other news, David Healy featured for Rangers in a friendly against Linfield. The Northern Ireland hitman has been unable to get into the Rangers squad recently as it is believed his contract features an automatic extension clause that will be triggered by his next league or cup appearance. Healy played the majority of the game for Rangers in their 2-0 at Windsor Park. The game was arranged to raise funds for the debt-stricken SPL club.