Exeter City hoping players offered contracts will sign soon

Exeter City manager Gary Caldwell is hopeful that the out-of-contract Grecians who have been offered new deals will put pen to paper sooner rather than later. Demetri Mitchell, Tom Carroll, Harry Lee and Caleb Watts have all been offered new deals.

Zak Jules, who is also out of contract, has been offered a longer deal than the one-year extension City have an option to trigger. Cheick Diabate, Jack Aitchison, Yanic Wildschut and Shaun MacDonald had all signed new deals at St James Park in recent weeks as well, with the manager keen to tie down as many players as possible as early as he can.

Ex-Tottenham Hotspur man Carroll was a regular in the heart of the midfield, making 45 appearances, while Mitchell was a star man in his 17 appearances before an ACL injury ruled him out for the campaign in October. Jules made 47 appearances in his first season in Devon, while Watts made 11 appearances. Highly-rated goalkeeper Lee didn’t feature for City last season, but had been out on loan at Salisbury before injury ended his season.

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“It’s a huge frustration of mine and I’m sure the supporters are eager to see them get resigned,” Caldwell said. “Getting Jack Aitchison signed up for another season shows the club’s intent and that we want to build a core group of players that can be successful over several years.

“We are working hard on all the players and hopefully they commit to Exeter very soon. It’s different from a signing outside of the football club with deadlines so we have a bit more flexibility.

“Everyone’s situations are different in terms of needs with a contract, everyone has family situations, so we are working with that. We want it to work sooner rather than later so come June 20 we have as much of the squad together who are ready to start the preparation for the new season.”

He added: “It was the big challenge for us all at the club, to not just build a team for a season or one or two windows, but to build a team for the years to come, hence the signing of Jack to give him another year so he is set here, he knows what he has to do and is only focussed on his game and getting better.

“So, to have fourteen/fifteen contracted and hopefully we can add to this in the summer with players resigning, loan players potentially coming back and new signings. The more players we can get in the group that understand how we play is really important for how we progress as a football club.”

Work in the background has been ongoing for a while to try and attract new signings to the club. Caldwell is hopeful of adding names early in the window to help build competition for places when pre-season begins.

“The big thing we look for is good people,” he added. “Since I’ve been at the club, we have recruited well but the big thing is good people and last year was a perfect example of that, in that difficult period everyone stood together and kept working and supporting everyone and that is because we have really good characters at the club.

“On top of that we want good players and getting them in the building makes such a difference, when we had them to pick from in January it was a challenge to pick the team and the finishers and we created competition, so hopefully we will have that at the end of the window to really attack League One next season.”

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