As manager Nathan Jones prepares the Town squad for the upcoming 2020-21 Sky Bet Championship season, we would like to update supporters with the latest on out-of-contract players who had agreed to extend their deals to complete the 2019-20 campaign.
After talks in the wake of the team’s second tier survival with victory over Blackburn Rovers last Wednesday, we can confirm that new contracts have been offered to Luke Berry, Danny Hylton, Elliot Lee, Kazenga LuaLua and Glen Rea to extend their careers at Kenilworth Road.
Jacob Butterfield and Callum McManaman have not been offered renewals and leave the club after one season in Bedfordshire, following their arrivals as free agents last summer.
Butterfield signed for the Hatters following his release by Derby County and made 17 appearances in total, scoring one goal – a memorable one to set us on the way to a first Championship win at his former club Barnsley last August. Jacob’s last appearance came in the crucial 1-0 win at Swansea on 27th June.
McManaman joined the Town after his release from Wigan Athletic. The 29-year-old scored four times in 26 appearances, with three of his goals being late equalisers from the bench that ultimately yielded five points towards the survival target.
Jones worked with the pair for the nine games following the restart on June 20th, when Macca netted late to rescue a point against Preston, and the manager said: “Jacob and Callum have both been consummate professionals and I can only thank them for that.
“Although they obviously played most of their football for the club before I came in, both made important contributions after the restart and were fantastic to have around the group, pushing and encouraging those that were starting.
“They were a big part of the team being able to achieve what we did, because the environment was first class. Both are great lads and they were part of something really memorable. I want to thank them and wish them well for the future.”
The loan players who served the club so well over the past year have all returned to their parent clubs, with James Bree returning to Aston Villa having made 42 appearances, Izzy Brown rejoining Chelsea after scoring once in 28 and Cameron Carter-Vickers, who arrived in January, heading back to Tottenham Hotspur after appearing 16 times for the Hatters.
“With the loans, both James and Cameron contributed massively in my time in charge,” said Jones. “They were magnificent in the final few games, but had been key figures since they signed.
“They played a lot of games, and they were key to survival. Both bought into everything we did and were really good around the place. We were delighted to have them.
“Izzy was the same. His impact was obviously far greater before I came in, but he contributed to the win at Swansea with the assist for the goal and it was a shame he got injured against Reading.
“Even after that, he was always around the changing room showing what a team player he is, and I’d like to thank all of the loan players for their commitment to the club at such a crucial time. Hopefully it won’t be the last we see of them.”
Our fourth remaining loan player, Eunan O’Kane, will carry on with his rehabilitation from injury with the Hatters as his loan arrangement from Leeds United continues for the 2020-21 season.
Everyone at Kenilworth Road would like to echo Nathan’s words and thank all of those departing for their efforts and service over the past season and wish them well for their future careers having played a part in The Great Escape. They will always be welcome at the Kenny.
We will provide further updates on contract developments in due course, as the quick turnaround between seasons sees the players to return to pre-season training at The Brache on Monday August 10th.