Retained List Announced!

United have announced their retained list to see who’s going to be part of the squad for the upcoming 2021/22 League One Season

Callum Burton is the main casualty, despite deputising well for Dimitar Mitov during the run-in, and making some important saves he’s been released by the club. Unfortunately for Callum he’s very similar to Mitov in his attributes and the club obviously think they can improve on him. A great shot stopper, Burton has a tendency to spill the ball which has cost us a few goals this season, but his penalty facing ability is second-to-none. We wish him well and hope we don’t have to face him in a penalty shoot out in the future. Youngster Joe Neal has also been released to continue his development elsewhere where he can get more game time.

Contracts have been offered to Greg Taylor, Dimi Mitov, Kyle Knoyle, Liam O’Neil, Paul Digby, Luke Hannant, Andrew Dallas, Paul Mullin, Harrison Dunk and Ben Worman. Adam May has had the option of a second year taken up and the club continue to talk with Wes Hoolahan, to the relief of all U’s fans. Whilst we’re not surprised by a few of those names, we did not expect to see Andrew Dallas retained after his loan spell at Weymouth seemed to signal the end of his Abbey Stadium career, and we’d still be surprised if he plays much of a part next season.

You can argue that Greg, Liam, Dimi, Harrison and Luke Hannant have all earned extensions based on the past season, although whether they’ll be first choice come August is a different matter – the club will need to improve the depth in the squad or it’s going to be a difficult season. Some people will disagree on whether they all will be competitive at a higher level, but some continuity from a successful side is required and these guys have bled Amber for us this year.

Knoyle, Mullin and Digby have been integral to our success this season, and whilst it looks like Knoyle is off to the Championship, Mullin’s future is a little less clear – he’s said he’d prefer to return closer to his home in the North West, but he has also had the season of his life in Amber and Black so may decide to stay at the Abbey a while longer. Fingers crossed it’s the latter. Paul Digby has been the Wanless-esque figure we’ve missed for a while now so we hope he will sign a new deal too.

Hiram Boateng, Declan Drysdale, Jubril Okedina, Shiloh Tracey and Ali Alese have returned to their respective parent clubs – it would be great to see a few of those back next year (Boateng and Okedina in particular) but some of them didn’t have as much opportunity to show us what they can do as they’d have liked.

2 thoughts on “Retained List Announced!

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  1. I really feel for Burton but I presume we gave McKenzie-Lyle a two-year deal because we thought he’d eventually become our first-choice ‘keeper, so we were never going to keep both Burton and Dimi.

    Burton is a good goalie and I’m sure he’ll find another club before too long.

    The real shocker is Andy Dallas being offered a new deal.

    I know he’s done quite well in non-league but it’s hard to work out how Bonner and others have come to the conclusion that he’s good enough for League One!

    Hopefully, he’s the new Joe Pigott; i’e terrible in League Two but very good in League One!

    In an ideal world, at least three of Boateng, Okedina, Knoyle, Digby and Mullin will be playing for us next season but in reality, I would be very surprised if we were able to sign more than one of them.

    I think it’s safe to say that one won’t be Mullin or Knoyle!

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  2. I guess with loan players going back, it gives scope to add seven or eight new signings and get back up to this season’s squad size. Many more than that and you’ll have double figures of players not getting in the matchday squad, even if all are fit. I think the assessment of Burton is fair. Good shot stopper and great penalty record, but a tendency to spill the ball or punch rather than catch at times, which often wasn’t the right decision.

    As regards replacements, you could make a case for at least one signing in every position. I would expect them to bring in another GK, perhaps with L1 experience. I think they’ll want 3 GK’s as they had last season. RB – cover for Knoyle perhaps. 3xCB’s. We didn’t concede a big volume of goals last season, but most of the goals we conceded were soft and easily preventable. I felt we were more solid defensively pre-Christmas than after, so will need to address that by adding better quality at CB. CM looks weak – interesting whether they go back in for Boateng. I’m a little surprised that O’Neil and Hannant have been retained – as neither of them, nor May could hold down a regular spot last season, they seemed to rotate between each other. Hannant is neither a prolific creator of chances, nor a defensive player, so I think he’s fortunate to have been offered a new deal. Hoolahan’s creativity needs more cover even if he stays. Nobody in the squad really looked like providing that last season, so that needs addressing. Feel they need another striker, even if Mullin stays. Surprised they are looking to retain Dallas, tbh. Bonner talked about adding goals across the squad, pace, as he obviously wants the option to vary the diamond and L1 experience, so it’ll be interesting to see who they can recruit and in what positions. I’m expecting seven or eight new signings potentially.

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