Nottingham Forest striker Dexter Blackstock sends warning over transfer policy
DEXTER Blackstock has warned Nottingham Forest may never be a potent force in the Championship again if they do not change their contract policy.
The striker fears that Luke Chambers, Garath McCleary, Joel Lynch, Paul Anderson and the other out-of-contract players will all walk out of the City Ground for nothing in the summer when their contracts expire.
Blackstock – who netted both goals in Forest's 2-0 win over Portsmouth at the weekend – questions how they will challenge for promotion unless manager Steve Cotterill is backed heavily.
And he warned the Reds could lose Chris Cohen, Lee Camp, Lewis McGugan, Chris Gunter and himself, when their contracts expire in a year.
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"It does not make sense. How can that happen? I know Steve Cotterill is trying to make things right, but he has had his hands tied," said Blackstock.
"Hopefully the policy will change next season. The manager has done a good job but he needs to be given some help.
"I have spoken to the other players and tried to persuade them to stay. But they are looking at other possibilities now because of the position. There may be Premier League interest in some of them.
"And it is very difficult to turn down Premier League interest. If we'd had sorted this out nine months ago, this would not be a problem.
"No other football club that I know of does this.
"If we have no idea how we are going to replace these players, it does not make sense. We have players here who would be happy to sign for this club. But we are perhaps going to let them leave for nothing?
"We are going to weaken the team and the squad. What is the point of that?
"We could have 12 or 13 players walking out of the door. I don't know why it has been allowed to run down into this situation.
"It is important for us to keep those players because it will be very hard to replace their quality.
"If the club allows these players to leave on a free, it is going to cost far more to replace them."
Blackstock is surprised the club has not learned lessons from the past.
"Forest lost Kris Commons for nothing," he said. "We lost Kelvin Wilson. We had to sell Wes Morgan. We cannot allow the same thing to happen again.
"If the club wants to talk to me about a new contract, I would love to talk to them. I would be happy to stay with Forest for a number of years. I am happy here.
"But, if you do get into a position where you are running down to the last few months of your contract, you are going to look at your options.
"Your frame of mind might change if you find yourself in a position where you have other offers to consider.
"I would sign a new contract now and I am sure other people would if they wanted to talk.
"What if we get to the same point next season and we have Campy, Lewis McGugan, Chris Cohen, Chris Gunter, myself . . . how much money would it cost to replace these people?
"We need new players next season anyway.
"If we want to be pushing for promotion, those players will have to be quality."