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Saturday, July 22, 2017
Huddersfield Hold All The Aces in Wells' Negotiations
Despite Huddersfield Town tying down a number of key personnel to new deals at the club, conspicuous in absence has been any news of Nahki Wells’ current contract situation.

While Chris Lowe, Elias Kachunga, Jonathan Hogg, Tommy Smith and Rajiv van La Parra have all been rewarded for their SkyBet Championship promotion exploits, the Bermudian forward has entered into the final year of his contract.

It seems, for whatever reason, the two parties have reached an impasse in extending the 27-year-old’s time from the current four-and-a-half year contract he signed when joining for a then-club record £1.3m from Bradford City back in January 2014.

Astonishing to think that record figure has already been broken six times this summer alone, but that is the changing landscape Huddersfield Town now find themselves in after Premier League promotion.

Arguably Wells stock was at the highest ahead of the last January transfer window where he appeared to cement himself as Town’s main man with a run of four goals in six crucial games between Bristol City at home on Saturday, December 10, and Wigan Athletic on Monday, January 2.

Speculation was rife at the time the striker was set for a move to rival Championship side Norwich City after head coach David Wagner revealed a new contract offer was rejected during the previous summer.

Speaking to the Examiner at the time, Wells said, “I think a bit of what came out (about the new contract rejection) has been misconstrued.

“If anyone questioned my attitude towards the season so far, I would strongly disagree.

“I am working hard and I will continue to do that.”

Yet a bid never came for the player – either from Norwich or any other club – and although his commitment couldn’t be questioned the flow of goals dried somewhat, with fellow striker Elias Kachunga eventually ending the campaign as the club’s top goalscorer with 13 goals (and all from a wider position than Wells’ central slot).

Indeed, despite his best efforts, Wells looked uncomfortable at times in Wagner’s high intensity 4-2-3-1 formation which requires the German’s ‘gegenpressing’ approach to begin at the top of the team.

Although Wells is not that sort of striker, more a natural goalscorer who thrives alongside an aerial strike partner such the one he had at Bradford in James Hanson, he performed his role admirably under difficult circumstances.

And again in March the player made all the right overtures regarding his Town future while simultaneously underlining his long-term desire to play in the Premier League.

The Play-Off final win over Reading at Wembley saw this dream fulfilled, but the question now is not only for how long at Huddersfield Town but how long will he remain a top-flight player?
Friday, July 21, 2017
Simons Not Registered with Chesterfield FC

It was two days ago that www.islandstats.com learned that Rai Simons is no longer a registered player with Chesterfield FC after failing to sign the deal offered to him by the club.

After confirmation with the club, www.islandstats.com can report that Chesterfield released their shirt numbers for next season today and Simons, who was expected to extend his stay as a player at least until he had recovered from an Achilles injury, was not among the names listed.

Simons, 21, required surgery for a ruptured Achilles tendon, sustained in April against Scunthorpe United. Having made 46 appearances and scored five goals for Town since signing from Ilkeston in April 2015, Simons’ time with the club appears to have come to an end. Director Ashley Carson confirmed: “We offered Rai a new contract but he has not accepted it so he is no longer a registered player.”

The forward has five caps and a goal at international level for Bermuda.

Sunday, July 16, 2017
Wells Watches Hudderfield Win Pre-Season Match

Nahki Wells watched his Huddersfield Town teammates maintained their 100% pre-season winning run with a pleasing 3-1 away win a League One side Bury FC.

Goals from summer recruits Steve Mounie and Tom Ince overturned former Town old-boy Jermaine Beckford’s early second-half strike before Elias Kachunga coolly converted a late penalty.

And it was enjoyed by 2,005 travelling Town fans in a crowd of 3,306.

With almost a month still to go until the club’s inaugural Premier League campaign, David Wagner’s team was one of balance between building fitness and protecting against any potential long-term spells on the sidelines.

It meant a total of nine first-team regulars were absent - Tommy Smith (foot), Jon Gorenc Stankovic (ACL) and Michael Hefele (Achilles) were joined on the sidelines by goalkeeper Joel Coleman (knock), Joe Lolley (groin) and Wells (ankle).

There was also no place for Mark Hudson, who was on a coaching course, new signing Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jorgensen, who was attending his sister’s wedding and Aaron Mooy, who was still on extended leave after his participation in the Confederations Cup.

Thursday, July 13, 2017
Butterfield & Walsall Begin Pre-Season Training

The gruelling Cassius Camps, in the Lake District, is how Milan Butterfield and his Walsall teammates spent the first part of this week ramping up their preparations for the new season.

Three relentless days in Cumbria saw each and every player pushed to their physical and mental limits in a series of endurance based fitness challenges.

But this camp was about so much more than simply getting the players in shape ahead of the new campaign.

The aim of Cassius – according to founder Philip Ercolano – is to build relationships and team bonds that usually take years to form.

It is all about working together to overcome mental barriers and achieve things you never thought were possible.

And it really is amazing to see.

On the first night the players were eased in gently with series of complex puzzles designed to improve communication.

It was the perfect way to allow the new signings and younger players to integrate into the group.

And then on Monday, the ante was upped as the players were pushed to breaking point in military style boot camp.

After a gruelling ‘warm-up’ the squad was split into groups of defenders, midfielders and strikers – with the goalkeepers joining the forwards. Placed in front of them was an obstacle course designed to brutally target every area of the body.

Whether it was lifting logs, tipping tyres or carrying bags of stand – the course’s aim was to push you to the point where you simply had to stop.

Then once you were there, it was up to your teammates to keep you going and get you over the finishing line.

On Tuesday though it was back to concurring fears with the task to abseil down a gigantic rock face. There were anxious faces throughout the entire group - with Butterfield particularly nervous.

But with his team mates right behind him, the Bermudian got himself over the steep ledge and down the mountain.

It was an incredible effort from the players who had all pushed themselves further than they ever thought possible.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Lambe & Carlisle United Win Second Pre-Season Game

Reggie Lambe and his Carlisle United teammates shook off a little more of the summer’s rust with a comfortable pre-season victory that saw a first goal back in a blue shirt for Hallam Hope.

The striker who will carry much of United’s scoring responsibility in 2017/18 will have enjoyed the sight of the ball rocketing into the net from his right boot after 67 minutes at Penrith.

Keith Curle, who used the second July friendly to assess six trialists, will also have been pleased to see his other senior forward, Shaun Miller, grab another goal.

There were further strikes from Jamie Devitt and Luke Joyce, while one of the unnamed trialists – a tall, young centre-forward – pressed his claims with the other.

Carlisle began with four of those hopefuls – a goalkeeper, both full-backs and a tall centre-forward – as Curle’s squad were put through their paces against Jim Nichols’ team.

Their first-half team included Mark Ellis and Gary Liddle at centre-half, with Devitt and Samir Nabi in central midfield. Much of the play went through Devitt, with Reggie Lambe also testing Penrith with his trickery.

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