|Lifted from: bristolrovers.co.uk|
But the longer we have gone without positive news the more likely it seemed he would reject the contract offered to him. Initially the question would have been 'why?' but with the goalkeeping situations at Swindon Town (is home club), Bristol City and Yeovil Town far from certain, Mildenhall could easily have received contact from them. City currently have no goalkeepers on their books following Tom Heaton's departure to Burnley and their release of Dean Gerken and Lewis Carey so an experienced goalkeeper will be exactly what they are looking for in their return to League One. Swindon have to cut their wage bill and it seems likely star player Wes Foderingham will be sold as a result, meaning their will be a number 1 required at the County Ground too. Factor in Yeovil and their need for Championship-standard goalies, especially if their highly-rated Marek Stech is sold, and you can see why Mildenhall may now have a fair few options. If this was the case would Rovers remain an appealing proposition?
Well, he would be guaranteed to play every game if he joined us and he is already well-liked by players, staff and fans alike. This would mean he would be received very positively indeed. He also knows he could be part of a club on the up with the ambitions we harbour for the coming season. The UWE Stadium is just 2 years away and the opportunity to become a club hero in his final years may be too good to turn down. Of course, we cannot compete with the standard of football the other clubs offer but I'm sure given Swindon's wage concerns we could compete with them and Yeovil financially. We probably couldn't match what City would be able to pay him but he runs the risk of becoming disliked by both Bristol clubs if he joins them and fails to deliver the goods. Ward has said we have made him a 'good offer' and the ball remains in Steve's court. I hope he decides his future lies with Bristol Rovers, undoubtedly with coaching attached in some future capacity, and that he signs in the next few days. It would be a giant stride forward if we could pull it off.
|Lifted from: zimbio.com|
There are plenty of permutations to the deal and nothing is decided as yet. The fact we remain in negotiations is a good thing because he has clearly not dismissed us out of hand. Having said that it does suggest he is trying to keep his options open for as long as possible and whilst this remains the case he may receive a better offer. Ward has worked with O'Toole at both Rovers and Colchester and this could be significant in his final decision. If Ward can persuade him to join the evolution then O'Toole could be in it for the long haul if we can earn promotion next season.
Disappointingly Ward did admit that he doesn't anticipate any big signings being made before pre-season training begins on June 20. This of course could be a cover-up for potential transfer dealings taking place but I had hoped to hear that he was closing in on other targets. He said earlier in May that we'd see a 'couple of new faces' over the summer (other than Mildenhall and O'Toole) so to be apparently no nearer to signing anybody is frustrating. Still, I trust Ward to be working as hard as he can to strengthen the squad and whatever he decides is for the best is good enough for me.
|Lifted from: guardian.co.uk|
There's a lot to be discussed and finalised right now so for now at least we'll have to continue waiting. It's frustrating at this time of year but hopefully good things will come to those who wait...