Contract Talks at Last

Jack Ross says the club have opened contract talks with Max Stryjek. Denver Hume, Josh Maja, Lynden Gooch and George Honeyman: "Denver, Josh, Lynden, George and Max Stryjek are all out of contract in the summer,” said Ross. “We’re keen to keep all of them at the club and the communication with their representatives has begun. How quickly that process will go, we’ll wait and see. It’s not just about Josh, we’re keen to keep all these younger players who have come through the club because they’re good enough to keep helping us progress. Hopefully, they’ll be part of that. It’s important for these young lads to get rewarded. It happens in other lines of work, where people get promoted, but in football, there’s not really that mechanism. As a manager, the most simplistic way to look at it is that I want them to be in my squad. I ask the club to reward them with a contract, that’s probably as much as I can do. If there’s any persuasion from me, it’s in terms of how I see them in the playing squad. Then it’s down to how much that matters to them.”

In other news, Ross reckons that he almost substituted Jerome Sinclair just before he scored against Peterborough on Tuesday. "In the wake of the sending-off, I was thinking about taking him off just because I was worried about how long he would last. We were going to leave just Josh up, but then I changed my mind because I just wanted to stretch the game and he did that, digging in to last as long as he did. He started to cramp up a bit towards the end and I had a wildcard in Benji to throw on instead. Jerome has had to be patient and wait for a chance to play as a main striker, that chance came on Tuesday night and he took it, which is all you can ask. His all-round performance was good but to get a tangible reward in terms of a goal was good for him, especially because he was disappointed at half-time having missed a good opportunity a few minutes earlier. He's quite hard on himself so it was good that he dealt with it by making sure he made the most of the next opportunity that came his way."

Ross added: "I'm just disappointed that it didn't turn out to be the winner, because that would have been fitting. His physical stature belies his age, so you can sometimes forget that he is still young. He made his debut for Liverpool a while ago, but the number of games he has played doesn't really reflect how long he has been on the scene. His attitude as a loan player has been very, very, good. How he trains, how he conducts himself, how he interacts with everyone around the club, has been really good and that's been brilliant because it can be hard to get it right with loan players, you just don't know [how it will work out]. He took that opportunity on Tuesday so well and we have all been desperate for him to do that. His performance the other night was really good, and committed too, which is brilliant to see. He stretches the game, and that's the type of player that we don't have many of in our squad. His role in allowing us to play in behind them on Tuesday was really important. I played him in a slightly different role at Burton and I take responsibility for that because he didn't play well. We spoke about it, and what he could do to get better, and he has taken it on board and worked really hard in training. I feel as though in the last couple of weeks this has been the best he has trained which is probably because it has been the longest period he's had building up his fitness."