In these unprecedented times, no one knows what is happening with football. It’s on an enforced hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and there’s no real sign of when this will be lifted. There’ll be a logistical backlog of games to get through. Aside from that, there is also the need to consider player contract situations – the projected end date for the season being past the traditional 30 June cut-off point for contracts.
Bolton are rock-bottom of League One on just 14 points, although they did have to overhaul a 15-point deduction for going into administration. It is looking bleak for the Trotters who are 21 points and a heap of goals adrift of safety, the last spot clear of relegation being held by AFC Wimbledon on 35 points. There is still uncertainty around, including over player contract situations. Here are five Bolton Wanderers players whose current deals run out at the end of June.
Daryl Murphy (centre-forward): Murphy started his career at Luton Town, leaving the Hatters in 2002 to join Irish side Waterford. He came back to English football three years later, joining Sunderland in 2005. Since then he’s signed deals at Celtic (£1.5m – 2010), Newcastle United (£3.15m – 2016) and Nottingham Forest (£2m – 2017). It was from Forest that Bolton signed him on a one-year deal early September last year. This season the 37-year-old striker has scored eight goals and provided two assists in 24 games for the Trotters.
Will Buckley (right-winger): Buckley is another Bolton player whose contract is up and the winger arrived at the University of Bolton Stadium on a free transfer from Sunderland at the opening of the summer 2017 transfer window. In his time at the club, Buckley has made 66 appearances, scoring seven goals and providing six assists. This season has seen him released by Bolton before being resigned and he has made five appearances for Keith Hill’s side and has laid on one assist.
Jason Lowe (defensive midfield): 28-year-old Lowe was snapped up on a free transfer from Birmingham City in the summer of 2018 and has gone on to make 71 appearances for the club, laying on one assist. This season has seen the former Blackburn midfielder turn out 29 times for Bolton in their League One campaign.
Luke Murphy (central midfield): 30-year-old Murphy was once a £1m purchase for Leeds United in 2013 as new owners GFH Capital made a statement of intent. Bolton picked Murphy up in a free transfer in early August 2018 from Leeds – Murphy having essentially been out on loan at Burton Albion since January 2017. In his time at the Trotters, Murphy has made 45 appearances, scoring two goals and laying on three assists. Both of those goals and two of those assists have come this season in 29 League One games.
Ali Crawford (central midfield): Crawford has spent the vast majority of his time in football in his native Scotland for the likes of Hearts and Hamilton Academicals with a short-term loan at Bo’ness United. He came into English football via a free transfer to Doncaster Rovers in mid-July 2018, joining Bolton on a similar deal a year later in early-September 2019. This season he’s featured in just 13 League One games for Hill’s side but has five assists to his name.