David Bates’s contract is up in the summer, and with less than two months to go until the end of the season, you would have thought that the 21 year old’s future would be resolved by now.
Of course, the fact that the defender is currently out injured won’t help matters, but in the 15 appearances he has made since Graeme Murty took over the reins he has been pretty impressive. The centre back has started 13 times in total, and we have conceded 12 times, which is certainly not a bad record.
No doubt getting injured in the Old Firm derby was a major blow, both for the team, and for the player himself. His replacement Fabio Cardoso wasn’t up to the task, and it’s telling that inthe two games since being sidelined, we have failed to win or keep clean sheets in either game.
Back in March, the manager outlined the defender’s situation:
“The more he plays the more chance he has. We have to be respectful to David and his career. He’s taken the chance of playing in our first team with both hands. As a manager that delights me because I have a young man who is performing well. As for the contract status, you’ll have to talk to the director of football.”
Since those comments at the start of last month, there has been rumours that negotiations have stalled over a new deal. Our no.24’s long term future is very much in the balance. He is still young and developing his game so I don’t see the risk of giving him a longer term deal considering his performances this season. So why the delay?
It’s clear that with the current boss’s own future still very uncertain, the decision will be down to Mark Allen. With the managerial situation unresolved, it is likely the Director of Football will stop short of handing any player a new contract until we know who the manager will be next season.
If the next man isn’t Murty (something that appears more and more likely), then he may not want Bates on the club’s books. The fact is though by waiting around for a new deal, the former Raith Rovers man may become impatient and look elsewhere. If that happens, it would be a mistake in my view.