McCall hopes to keep McFadden

Motherwell boss Stuart McCall has not given up hope of holding on to James McFadden, but has confirmed the exit of Tom Hateley.

Last Updated: 27/06/13 at 12:25 Post Comment

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James McFadden: Future remains in doubt

James McFadden: Future remains in doubt

Motherwell boss Stuart McCall has confirmed Tom Hateley has left the club - but the Fir Park manager has not given up hope of holding on to James McFadden.

Utility man Hateley's contract expired last month and despite being offered fresh terms by the Steelmen, he now joins 27-goal striker Michael Higdon out the exit door.

The former Crewe, Falkirk and St Mirren frontman has also rejected a new deal after landing the PFA Scotland player of the year award and both players are now expected to try their luck in England.

But McCall insists he holds no grudges against the English duo, saying: "Tom and Michael's contracts are up and we now think of them as ex-players. They are out the door.

"Their agents have made it clear [they won't be coming back]. I've spoken to both of them. They were both great servants for the club and I have no worries about them going down south."

However, the Well boss - who himself turned down a move to Sheffield United earlier in the summer - is still hopeful of retaining former Scotland striker McFadden.

The ex-Everton and Birmingham playmaker returned to Fir Park last season in a bid to prove his fitness following three years of injury woes.

But he was not among the Motherwell players who reported for the first day of pre-season training yesterday.

"James isn't in with us today," admitted McCall.

"I don't even know if he is still on holiday if I'm being honest.

"But there is always a chance with James. We had him in for training at this stage last year, but he went to Sunderland. Then he came back to us in the Christmas period but we didn't know what was going to happen. He ended up coming knocking on the door and signing with us.

"He played really well and it was a good fit. He did well for us and we gave him a platform to get fit.

"With James, as with all good players, he will have options. But you are not going to wait forever for any player. We will see over the weekend where James decided is best for his future, whether its abroad, England or another Scottish club. But we would love to have him back. If it can happen, we will try to make it happen."

Motherwell are reported to be ready to offer striker John Sutton a way out of his current predicament at administration-hit Hearts.

McCall admitted there is interest in the former Fir Park favourite but claims a deal is not done yet.

He said: "We have been linked with John and have had him here as a player before. He did really well for us. There has been discussions regarding John but how far away that is, I don't know. I'm just back from holiday so I left that to our chief executive Leeann Dempster to do."

On top of Hateley and Higdon, McCall has also had to wave goodbye to nine members of last season's squad.

Nicky Law moved to Rangers, Estonian Henrick Ojamaa left for Polish side Legia Warsaw while keeper Darren Randolph also departed for Birmingham. Kallum Higginbotham's loan stint from Huddersfield came to an end and Steven Saunders, Omar Daley, Steven Hetherington, Josh Watt and Nicky Devlin were all released.

Former Ross County duo Iain Vigurs and Paul Lawson are the only new arrivals so far and McCall admits further reinforcements are urgently required.

"We know we have lost a lot of players and only brought two in," said the Scotland assistant boss, who hopes to run the eye over a number of trialists next week.

"But we have still got a really good dressing room, a good core. We just need to tweak a few positions.

"We probably need five players to come in. We have lost three of the lads who were voted into the SPL team of the year.

"So we will have to fill gaps. But I have got belief in the players we are targeting. We have got to aim as high as we can in terms of quality. If we can't get them we move down the list.

"Would I have preferred to have had more players in by now? Not necessarily, because we gave the lads we offered contracts time to decide what they were doing. If the things they were looking at had fallen through, they could have ended up back here.

"But for good players you might have to wait an extra week. But it does come to a point where you need them in."


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