Dougie Freedman facing a dilemma over the goalkeeping situation at Bolton Wanderers
TWO keepers, two contracts, and one big dilemma for Dougie Freedman to sort out this summer.
On the face of it, the Wanderers boss would ideally like to keep both Adam Bogdan and Andy Lonergan on his books next season, and have the option of Arran Lee-Barrett to provide experienced cover.
To do so, however, could require a big gamble on the manager’s part, relying on his Whites finally sorting out their consistency problems in the Championship and looking like challenging for a top six spot from the off.
While Lee-Barrett is currently negotiating a short-term deal to stay on at the newly-named Macron Stadium next term, both Bogdan and Lonergan are only under contract for another 12 months before they would be able to walk away for nothing.
And it is that scenario that most concerns Freedman – a man who has added his own voice to those critical of the business sense Wanderers have shown in the transfer market in recent times.
Bogdan cost a pittance when he moved to England in 2007 from Vasas in Hungary and in that respect can be considered a home-grown player.
Four successive managerial regimes have helped polish up what was a diamond in the rough, with the 26-year-old now enthusiastically described by Freedman as one of the best keepers operating outside the top flight.
Even with only a year left on his contract he could command a decent transfer fee this summer – and judging by the flow of rumour that follows the Hungarian number one round from his home country, he is not short of clubs who would be willing to sign him.
What cannot be called into question is that Bogdan remains loyal to Bolton, and though he makes no secret of his desire to play at the top level again, he is not a character prone to making unnecessary waves.
Should Wanderers make another slow start next season with a contract still undecided, however, it is only natural to assume a move could be on the cards.
Lonergan’s case is even more complicated. Bought for a reported £1.2million from Leeds United in the summer of 2012, the Lancastrian stopper has not had the first-team opportunities he would have expected when he first left Elland Road.
His chances have come along when Bogdan has been injured – and though Lonergan’s most recent four-month stint in the side ended with a few high-profile mistakes, his performances have generally been of a very high standard.
While Bogdan has, at times, been a divisive figure on the terraces, Lonergan has been almost universally embraced. But at 30 years old, is he content to sit and wait for his rare chances to shine?
Freedman insists there has been no discussion about letting Lonergan leave this summer and that, in an ideal situation, he too would sign up to a longer deal.
But while the manager has remained diplomatic about talks with Bogdan and Lonergan, the fact he is looking to secure the services of Lee-Barrett for next season suggests he feels he will need some experienced back-up should either player suddenly move.
Money could talk this summer, and with remedial work required across his squad it seems unlikely Freedman could turn down a serious offer for any of his first teamers.