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Handyside To Leave Stoke

By: Paul Holmes
Date: 24/03/2003

PETER Handyside is set to leave Stoke City in the summer with the Mariners favourites to secure his signature. Handyside made over 200 appearances for Town during a nine-year spell after coming through the youth system.

During his time at Blundell Park, Handyside earned Scottish Under 21 honours with many feeling a call up to the full squad was deserved.

Handyside's departure caused ill feeling amongst the fans. Many blamed Lennie Lawrence's insistence on playing expensive Chinese import Zhang Enhua for his departure to Stoke City.

Both Lawrence and current manager Paul Groves have struggled to fill the void left by Handyside with a succession of loan players drafted in.

Handyside's contract expires in the summer at the Brittania Stadium and is set to leave after Stoke delayed on offering a new contract, despite the defender reaching the required number of apperances to earn a contract extension.

Asked of his future with the Staffordshire club Handyside replied: "You could say I'm not holding my breath. It's been an interesting few weeks and it's been difficult to stay focused, but the immediate job in hand is the much bigger issue of keeping this club in the First Division."

"I have to admit it's hurting, hurting a lot. But that's personal and you don't shout about these kind of things from the rooftops and look for any sympathy."

The Mariners have seen themselves linked with Handyside on several occasions over the last few months with the players contract expiring.

Rumours are rife of Handyside's desire to move back to the area and whilst Paul Groves will no doubt be aware of the situation, any move will depend on survival this season.

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