Paul Goodwin: Contract talks on hold - but who is likely to stay and go this summer?

James Coppinger. Picture: Andrew Roe
James Coppinger. Picture: Andrew Roe

Rovers’ stuttering bid for Championship security is having a knock-on effect on plans for next season as Paul Dickov continues to play a waiting game in respect of contract renewals.

But, despite still not knowing what division Doncaster will be in next season, the Scot will already have a very good idea who he wants to stay beyond this summer.

No fewer than 16 members of Rovers’ current squad are about to become free agents - so a head-start in planning for 2014/15 would have been very useful indeed.

And there are at least four players that you would expect Dickov will be keen to speak to as soon as possible, to fend off potential interest from elsewhere.

Ross Turnbull, James Coppinger, David Cotterill and Paul Keegan are all valued senior members of the squad and will almost certainly be offered new deals. It would be a major surprise if they weren’t. Whether they accept them, however, is another question entirely - and may depend on the outcome of Rovers’ survival bid.

Keegan is happy to be injury-free, playing regularly and making a positive impact at this level. He would seem the most likely to pen.

Cotterill too is settled living in Doncaster, not far from the training ground, but may just wonder if his international prospects could blossom elsewhere.

Coppinger is due a testimonial in pre-season, a factor likely to tie him to Doncaster for his remaining years - although the 33-year-old might be a tiny bit tempted by one last move.

Turnbull, meanwhile, is possibly the one that Rovers are most at risk of losing. His high profile in the game, following his stint at Chelsea, and his impressive form before getting injured, will have alerted several clubs.

And if the stopper gets even a whiff of Sam Johnstone returning to Rovers next season, he’ll be thinking very carefully about committing his own future to the club. After getting splinters at Stamford Bridge, Turnbull will have no interest in playing second fiddle to someone in the Championship.

Of the players most likely to be heading for the exit door, two stand out.

Billy Paynter’s Doncaster career appeared to be over from the moment he was allowed to move to Sheffield United on loan - with no recall clause.

And the injury-cursed Jamie McCombe may have to find a new club after failing to make a single senior appearance all season.

The futures of short term signings Abdoulaye Meite and Gabriele Tamas are harder to predict.

Meite’s quietly gone about his business in reliable, understated fashion. He’s probably worth another year, and will probably be keen to stay if Rovers remain in the second tier.

Tamas is more delicate. The Romanian - who has been linked with Rangers - is a popular, charismatic member of the dressing room but Dickov will be mindful of his track record of off the field incidents.

Of the handful of younger lads whose contracts are up, Alex Peterson would seem to be in pole position for an extended deal after Dickov handed him his first team debut.