Despite an improvement in performance and results towards the end of last season, Bradford City had a very disappointing campaign, finishing 14th in the Football League’s bottom division.
Another poor campaign condemns the Bantams to their fourth consecutive season in League Two. However, Mark Hughes’ side won each of their last three games, with most fans now optimistic their side can be challenging at the top end of the table next season.
Yet another summer rebuild is expected, with Hughes having already made five signings since the end of the season. Whilst plenty more business is expected to be done ahead of the season opener on July 30th, Hughes may also be looking ahead at which players are out of contract in 2023.
According to Transfermarkt, all of Sam Hornby, Oscar Threlkeld, Fiacre Kelleher, Yann Songo’o, Alex Gilliead, Abo Eisa, Andy Cook, Lee Angol and Kian Scales are out of contract in 2023. After signing from Tranmere Rovers in 2021 on a two-year deal, Liam Ridehalgh will also be out of contract next summer.
There’s a mix of players on that list, some who were sent out on loan last season in Hornby and Scales, some who have made very few appearances under Hughes in Kelleher and Threlkeld, and some who have played bigger roles under Hughes in Gilliead and Angol.
Should Threlkeld not leave the club before the expiry of his contract, it seems likely the right-back won’t be signing a new deal with the club. The former Salford City man has made just one appearance under Mark Hughes, in which he was substituted at half time in City’s 3-0 defeat to Colchester United.
Unless they break into the first team this season, Hornby and Scales may well pursue opportunities elsewhere. At the age of 27, Hornby may want regular game time, having only made 32 appearances in three years at the club so far. Meanwhile, at 20, Scales is yet to have a good run in the first-team and may look into non-league for more senior opportunities.
Kelleher was a regular on the bench during his first season at the club, but may not be offered a new deal if the club can sign another central defender with more Football League experience.
Having missed the majority of the last campaign through injury, winger Eisa will be playing for his future at the club next season. The forward has had little game time to prove to the City fans and new boss Hughes that he is a worthy squad member.
Players such as Songo’o, Gilliead, Cook and Ridehalgh have featured regularly for Hughes since the Welshman arrived at the club, but all were inconsistent last season. There will be no guarantees of a new contract for any of them.
After returning from a long-term hamstring injury, Angol impressed Hughes enough to earn a new contract extension until the end of the 2022/23 campaign. There is an option for Angol to stay a further season, which is likely to be triggered should the forward stay fit.
Hughes has now been in charge of the Bantams for three months, and will now know which of the current players are in his plans. Bradford City do not have a huge budget, and therefore Hughes may be looking to offload some players to free up more money for his own players, including those out of contract in 2023.