The contracts expiring at the end of the campaign: who should Cardiff City be keeping on?

At the end of the 2020-21 season, numerous contracts in the Welsh Capital are set to meet their expiration date.

The likes of Sol Bamba, Joe Bennett, Junior Hoilett, Ciaron Brown and Joe Day are all nearing the end of their contracts, whereas it is yet to be seen if January acquisition Jonny Williams will extend his future at the club after agreeing a six-month deal. 

In this article, I will be analysing which Cardiff players have done enough to warrant refreshed terms in the Summer.

Sol Bamba

By all accounts, it appears Sol Bamba’s glorious tenure at the Cardiff City Stadium is drawing to a respectful close.

Prior to a devastating ACL injury suffered against Wolves in the 18-19 campaign, Bamba had been an instrumental figure on the field and elevated his way into the hearts of Cardiff supporters with his passionate, commanding performances.

Having already studied for his coaching badges with a clear vision of eventual management, retirement may be on the cards for the 36-year old come the end of the season.

Heartbreakingly, the endeared stalwart was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma in January, a form of cancer which involves the white blood cells in the body. 

Subsequently, Bamba has since started chemotherapy and we firmly wish him all the best. 

Let’s hope that his gladiator, warrior-esque spirit exhibited throughout his career can translate to his battle against the disease. 

 

Joe Bennett

Another long-serving Bluebird, Joe Bennett’s contract is also set to expire in June.

Since making his way to South Wales from Aston Villa in the Summer of 2016, Bennett has been a virtual ever-present, registering close to 200 appearances and playing a key part in his side’s promotion in the 2017-18 season.

This term, Bennett’s influence had been no different, featuring in all but six of Cardiff’s Championship fixtures before sustaining a crushing ACL injury against Derby County on Tuesday.

Whilst Bennett is set to be sidelined for an extensive period of time, it is hard to argue that he has not done enough to earn a new contract.

With the youthful Joel Bagan destined to deputise in his absence, Bennett’s know-how could prove to be a great aid for the prospect.

For Cardiff, losing a player of Bennett’s quality and bountiful experience for free would undoubtedly be a huge loss for the club.

 

Junior Hoilett

On the other hand, many would argue that Junior Hoilett’s spell in City colours is approaching a likely conclusion.

At his ravaging best, Hoilett emerged as a key component in the Welsh Capital and played a starring role in the club’s promotion campaign.

Unfortunately, it seems those days of devastating distinction have surpassed the Canadian International- you can read more about that here (Should Cardiff City keep Junior Hoilett on? – All Out Football)

Following that distinguished 17/18 season, Hoilett’s ensuing fortunes have yielded a gradual deterioration. And the current campaign has been a serving epitome of his retrogression. 

This term, Hoilett has only mustered two goals and two assists in 21 appearances, thoroughly slipping down the pecking order in the process.

Now under the tutelage of Mick McCarthy, the early signs suggest that the 30-year old is not a pivotal piece in the puzzle for the new boss- exemplified by only 30 minutes of football in his opening 10 games at the helm.

It seems that, after a period of stagnation and peripherality, the time seems right to respectfully part ways with the Ontario native.

 

Ciaron Brown

Although he is yet to stamp his mark on the Cardiff first team, Ciaron Brown is still held in esteemed regard at the club.

After impressing north of the border with Scottish Premiership side Livingston across two separate loan spells, Brown has been closely monitored by McCarthy, with an integration to Championship football seemingly imminent.

Brown, who has represented Northern Ireland at International level, possesses all the qualities that the Cardiff boss craves.

During his time at the Tony Macaroni Arena, the 23-year old frequently featured in a back tree and is blessed with versatility and a trademark long throw to boot.

It would serve as a startling surprise if Brown does not pen a new deal before long, and you can firmly expect the young defender to hallmark his presence in the Bluebirds backline in the near future.

 

Joe Day

In striking contrast to some of the aforementioned individuals, Joe Day’s Cardiff City career has been littered with ill-fortunes.

After the Bluebirds made an immediate return to second-tier football, Day was snapped up from neighbouring outfit Newport County to deputise for Neil Etheridge.

This was because Alex Smithies looked destined to depart for Birmingham City.

However, it did not turn out that way.

Following an injury to Etheridge on the opening day against Wigan Athletic, Smithies stayed put and Day was firmly third choice for a while. 

Consequently, the shot stopper was loaned out to Wimbledon in January and after returning, was back down to third-in-command as the club brought in Dillon Phillips from Charlton Athletic.

Unsurprisingly, another temporary switch beckoned- this time to League One side Bristol Rovers.

And with a mere two appearances across his time at the Cardiff City Stadium, Day is widely tipped to be seeking pastures new come the end of the season.

Jonny Williams

A personal favourite of McCarthy’s, the former Wolves boss sought to acquire his services from Charlton in the January window, agreeing an initial six-month deal in the process.

Perhaps though, the Welsh International has not appeared as much as Cardiff fans would have hoped.

At the time of writing, Williams’ only appearance for the Bluebirds came as a late substitute in the midweek victory over Derby County.

And with mercurial maestro Lee Tomlin nearing a full return coupled with the emergence of academy star Rubin Colwill, there is every chance the diminutive playmaker will not be handed a plentitude of opportunities.

Of course, it is still too early to cancel out the possibility of Williams playing a part in the tail end of the season, but whether he can receive more action is a real mystery.

That will ultimately prove definitive to whether he is handed extended terms in South Wales.

featured image credit premier league