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Handyside Contract Delay

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 10/04/2001

GRIMSBY TOWN centre back Peter Handyside is to wait until the end of the season before making up his mind whether to sign a new contract offer which had been put on the table. The 26 year old defender, who has been at the club nearly a decade, would be free to leave as a Bosman in the summer.

The delay increases speculation that the former Scottish under 21 international will depart from Blundell Park with the club not receiving any Transfer Fee. This season Handyside completed his comeback from a year out with a career-threatening ankle injury sustained in a pre-season tour of Northern Ireland in 1999. He made his return in the second leg of the Worthington Cup fixture against Carlisle United back in August - the first match after Lennie Lawrence was appointed as the new manager.

"The gaffer's offered me a new contract but once the season finishes we'll be discussing everything in greater detail," Handyside told the Evening Telegraph. "It's not gone into great detail yet and there's an offer which I've acknowledged. The manager has been good enough to accept that I want to wait until the summer."

Chinese international Zhang Enhua's arrival in December saw the loan signing controversially being selected ahead of Handyside in central defence. Enhua's departure back to the Far East at the end of March has seen the Scot return, and he is set to play a critical role in the team over the crucial final six games.

"I'm looking to get a run and the fact that it's the last month, and we're in the position that we're in, puts more pressure on it. My main concern is match fitness. I haven't played for a while and I have to get into gear and adjust to it as quickly as possible.

"I just want to play. It's been very, very frustrating especially after being out for a year, apart from a few injuries and illnesses I could have done without.

"But, having been out for so long, that's to be expected.

"It's been difficult approaching games when I'm sat on the bench but you have to keep your head down and work hard in training and wait for your chance." said the six foot defender.

Lennie Lawrence has accepted Handyside's decision to delay putting his signature to any contract until the end of the season. "Everybody knew this was going to happen and he played against Huddersfield and Wimbledon," said the Town boss. "I've left him out sometimes but he's a quality player. I've spoken to him about a contract and he'll wait until the end of the season, which is fine."

Will Handyside be here next season? Have your say on the Pontoonites Message Board


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