BURNLEY manager Sean Dyche admits he cannot currently offer Brian Jensen the first-team football needed to keep the Dane at Turf Moor – but remains keen to finalise more new contracts as soon as possible.
The Clarets announced this week that Ross Wallace had signed a new deal until 2015 and the club remain in talks with a number of other players who are due to be out of contract in the summer.
Chris McCann, Dean Marney, Lee Grant, Martin Paterson and Michael Duff are among those still without a deal for next year.
Jensen’s contract also expires in the summer and the 37-year-old keeper says that, although he has no plans to retire, the possibility of first-team football will be his major priority when he decides his future.
The Dane has not shut the door on staying at Burnley, after 10 years with the club, but has played second fiddle to Lee Grant this season.Jensen decided to sign a new 12-month deal in the summer, despite losing his place to Grant early last season, but knows he cannot afford to spend any longer on the bench.
The Dane was keen to stress his affection for the club with a testimonial game pencilled in for Saturday, July 27, although that is subject to change.
Dyche was sympathetic with Jensen’s desire for games, admitting Grant has done enough to keep his place.
“The Beast is more than wise enough to know how goalkeepers work, only one can play, and since we’ve been here Granty’s delivered,” said the Clarets boss.
“His number of clean sheets has risen quite considerably and Beast knows the script.”
Dyche knows negotiations could be complex with others out of contract, with some being asked to take wage cuts.
But he would ideally like to secure the futures of the players he wants to keep as quickly as he can.
“We try,” he said. “We’re really pleased about Ross but there are others we are negotiating with and the wheels are in motion.
“We are speaking to all of them in one way or another and it’s an ongoing situation until someone says yes and then the deal gets agreed.
“The thing is it’s a mixture of different things, the right financial level, the right thing for the club and the right thing for the player.
“The club is transitioning out of a different financial period so the contracts we give have to be appropriate and they’ve got to be a balance of what the club’s financial structure is. Sometimes it takes time.”
Asked if negotiations could become a distraction in the latter weeks of the season if the Clarets are competing for a play-off place, he added: “It can be but it’s like anything, it’s the yin and yang of contract situations.
“On the one hand you want your players settled and focused, on the other hand they’re playing for the club, they’re also playing for their livelihoods and what comes next.”
Dyche was linked with a move to his former club Nottingham Forest earlier this week but the Clarets boss says he is thoroughly enjoying life at Turf Moor and admitted he took little notice of the reports.
“I didn’t actually see it myself,” he said. “There were a few texts flying around and a few phone calls all of a sudden, like they do, but I don’t bother too much about stuff like that.
“I’m enjoying my time here for sure, I’ve had a good reaction from the people here, the fans, which is important, and the players with the way it’s moulded together.
“There is still plenty to do and still things we’re working on and that’s my main focus, that’s for sure.”