IT’S an uncertain time for out of contract footballers up and down the land.

With clubs still dealing with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been estimated that around 1,400 players saw their deals end this summer.

Some in the lower reaches of the EFL may find that is the end of their time as a professional with clubs cutting back what they pay on wages. The possible introduction of salary caps clouds the issue even further.

Brandon Comley found himself as one of those without a club in April and reflects on it with mixed emotions, admitting he was among the lucky few.

The Wanderers new boy was let go by Colchester as they became the first EFL club to cut players due to the impact of Covid-19.

The 24-year-old claims that came with a clause in his contract looming, his sudden U’s departure meaning he was watching on from the sidelines as they missed out in the play-off semi-finals against Exeter, who would go on to lose at Wembley against Northampton.

“It was a really weird one,” Comley told The Bolton News.

“I always thought I was going to be able to get another year.

“I had a clause in my contract and I would have activated it by playing a certain number of games. I missed it by one.

“That’s one of the reasons I didn’t go and play in the play-offs, they didn’t want to sign anyone else on because of concerns about paying the wages.

“When coronavirus happened I thought I would be safe, I would have options, and fall back on that.

“Then when I found out that wasn’t going to be the case it was a bit of a worrying time.

“I’ve got bills to pay and things like that. As I’m sure anyone will tell you, it is a worrying time, especially knowing there’s going to be a lot of players out of contract.

“I was in a privileged position in a way knowing there was a few people interested in me.

“As soon as a club like Bolton come in for you it wasn’t even a debate about whether I should wait and see if anything better came along.

“You don’t get much better than an amazing club like this.”

Despite the initial uncertainty, the former Queens Park Rangers man admits that once new head coach Ian Evatt laid out his plan for Wanderers to him, the decision was pretty straightforward.

“My agent said that something would eventually come and then I got the call from him saying that a few clubs were interested and one of them was Bolton,” he said. 

“As soon as someone says a name like that, you straight away pay attention to it. I just wanted to get down there and meet the gaffer.

“I had a look at the place, all the facilities and that and everything that he was saying and the way that he wanted to go about things was really interesting and something I wanted to be part of.

“It all happened pretty quickly after that and I was ready to get going.”

Eoin Doyle and Antoni Sarcevic, League Two promotion winners last season with Swindon and Plymouth respectively, had already come through the door at the University of Bolton Stadium.

The calibre of his new team-mates certainly caught the eye of Comley who has been joined by former Cambridge defender George Taft and Blackburn Rovers loanee Tom White in signing for Wanderers, with plenty more to come.

“I played against a few of the players last season, Sarcevic, Doyle, and knowing what they can do, it shows that the club has got intent to go in the right direction,” the Montserrat international said.

“When I came up here the manager wasn’t faffing around. He laid everything out on the table. He’s got ambition and he wants players that have that same drive and want to be a part of it to get on board.

“The other signings were definitely a big reason as to why I signed. You can see the club wants to push on, do well in the league and get promotion.

“It’s something any ambitious player would want to be a part of.”