Blue Square Bet
Published 9th May 2012
....Premier club – but that could mean a couple of high-profile exits.
The Bluebirds have offered new deals to nine out-of-contract players – Danny Hurst, Shaun Pearson, Gavin Skelton, Mike Pearson, James Owen, Richie Baker, Paul Rutherford, Jack Mackreth and Andy Cook – with striker Adam Boyes already signed up.
Bayliss, who last night added midfielders Robin Hulbert and Andy Ferrell to his now-complete released list of seven – has revealed 24-year-old winger Paul Rutherford is attracting interest from Football League clubs.
Powerful 21-year-old striker Cook, meanwhile, is rumoured to be on the radar of clubs including npower League Two Cheltenham Town and league rivals Gateshead.
North-East based Cook, who joined Barrow from Carlisle United on a permanent deal sixteen months ago, scored eighteen goals in forty-three appearances last season.
Bayliss said: “I’ve said to the lads we have offered new deals to that they can have a week or so to think about it.
“I’ll be honest though, I’ve spoken to a few top-rated goalkeepers, some quality defenders, some quality midfielders, two excellent strikers and a really, really good winger.
“Paul Rutherford has had a little bit of interest from league clubs, but that’s down to him. I’m not going to wait until the end of the summer to get lads sorted.
“I want to get my squad, twelve or thirteen players, done by the end of May and then leave space open in July for a couple of positions that we need to fill. The likes of another striker, another midfielder maybe. The players need to realise it is a big, big shop window now.
“There are lads out there I have spoken too who are keen to come and play for Barrow next season when we will have a better squad, believe me.
“Two or three of the players we have offered new deals to have said ‘yes I will definitely come back and sign’.
“I’m meeting the club’s board of directors in Barrow so I’ll be able to get more sorted as regards contracts then. The 10 that we have offered too - including Boyes - I’d probably say eight will definitely stay.
“If the others don’t sign then the replacements are readymade.”
Rumours have also linked League Two Morecambe with moves for Cook and winger Jack Mackreth. Asked if the Shrimps had approached him about the pair, Bayliss said: “No, nothing. I spoke to Jack yesterday and he wants to stay. He knows that if he goes now it could be detrimental to what he wants to do in the future. He needs to play football, just like Cooky.
“I spoke to Cooky yesterday too. With us they will play football. They are not ready for the Football League yet. I have told them and their families that.
“I spoke to Jack’s dad and to Cooky’s mum and dad, and they know the best place for their lads at this moment in time is at Barrow.”
The boss, who released Phil Bolland, Paul Smith, Andy Nicholas, Cliff Moyo and Kelvin Lomax last Friday, was set to speak to popular midfield battler Hulbert as well as Ferrell last night.
Bayliss said: “Fez was one of the main signings last summer and he didn’t deliver the goods, for one reason or another. It was a big disappointment.
“Robin has been a key part of the club for the last three years and it was a massive blow to lose him to a bad knee injury at the start of last season.
“He’s a great lad and has a fantastic attitude. We now have to find someone of that ilk to replace him.
“At times James Owen has looked like he can do that job, but he is still young and needs to get that consistency.
“We can’t rely on one player though, we need lads fighting for positions and that is why the squad has to be healthy next season.
“That is what I want, and there will be two more midfielders at least coming in this summer. I have spoken to one or two already, lads with good pedigrees and points to prove. Robin has been a pleasure to work with and we wish him all the best for the future.”
Hulbert made seventy-nine appearances for Barrow in his three seasons at the club, without scoring. He was part of the Bluebirds side that won the FA Trophy in 2009/10 but was sent-off in the final at Wembley.