Boss Simon Grayson says Bailey Wright has plenty to thank Preston North End for, as his contract saga rumbles on.
Captain Tom Clarke, Greg Cunningham, Daniel Johnson, Paul Gallagher, Jordan Hugill, Paul Huntington, John Welsh and Ben Davies have all signed new Deepdale deals since the start of the season.
Wright – out of contract in the summer – has not, however, with the situation entering a critical stage ahead of the January transfer window.
If he does not sign a new deal the Australian international defender can leave for nothing in the summer.
PNE could however elect to cash in on the 24-year-old next month, having seen him amass more than 200 appearances for the club after joining as a teenager in 2009.
It has been far from straightforward for the centre-half during his time at Deepdale, having at one time been placed on the transfer list by Grayson’s preedecessor Graham Westley.
“I think Bailey owes the club a lot,” said Grayson, who left Wright out in favour of Paul Huntington in the win over Bristol City on Saturday.
“The previous manager wanted to get rid of him and Mr Hemmings (owner Trevor Hemmings) said that he didn’t want to and overruled Graham Westley.
“That’s football. It’s something we’ll try and resolve but, while he’s here, he’ll still be considered to play.”
Grayson conceded the situation was far from ideal, other contract business having been tied up so swiftly, but was prepared for the fact that Wright might look for a new challenge. The player himself has indicated he is willing to wait and see how things pan out.
“Bailey’s put it to bed a little bit by saying he wants to see how the situation develops,” said the PNE boss.
“As a football club we understand that but we’d like to have him tied down because he’s been a good player for us.
“I think the football club’s been good for him as well.
“Modern football means players can come in on a free and leave on a free and that’s what you have to accept.
“I’m sure there’ll be more talks and whatever outcome will be, will be I suppose. If Bailey leaves on a free then so be it because we’ve brought in some decent free transfers over the last few years who’ve been good signings for us.”
The latest acquisitions, Dundalk’s Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan, reported to training for the first time yesterday ahead of their two-and-a-half year contracts kicking in on January 1.
Winger Tom Barkhuizen has also arrived after leaving Morecambe, with Grayson more than happy with how his squad is shaping up ahead of the window.
“January is a difficult market to be involved in because a few people do go and panic buy,” he said.
“We’ve spent a lot of time researching players and we’ve gone in and got things done very quickly with Andy, Daryl and Tommy Barkhuizen.
“We’re pleased with how we’ve started and anything that might develop will be our decision rather than any panic.”