Barnsley: Luke may turn down new deal

Reds keeper Luke Steels with manager David Flitcroft
Reds keeper Luke Steels with manager David Flitcroft
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Luke Steele is nearing his Barnsley exit.

The Star understands the sought-after goalkeeper, who joined the Reds in 2008, is highly unlikely to sign a new one-year contract at the club.

Steele has been offered reduced terms to stay at Oakwell despite, arguably, being one of the club’s best performers last season. And perhaps even more surprisingly first team boss David Flitcroft said the player didn’t warrant a longer deal because he was “too old”.

Steele is only 28 and some people will have the opinion, including the player, that he is approaching the prime of his professional career.

But The Star understands Flitcroft is keen to work within a stringent wage structure with one of the lowest budgets in the Championship.

And he has revealed he would happily give Ben Alnwick, the club’s number two keeper, the chance to come out of the shadows and replace the experienced Steele between the posts.

Flitcroft is understood to have looked at a number of new goalkeepers to replace Steele, while former loan player Ross Turnbull – who has been released by Chelsea – is thought to be a target.

Defender Bobby Hassell could also be on his way out of the club despite being offered a one-year contract to stay.

Next season is loyal Hassell’s decade with the Reds, although The Star understands the player is disillusioned with a lack of first team action.

That could tempt the player to leave in search of regular football in the Championship, with Huddersfield Town – managed by former Reds’ boss Mark Robins – understood to have expressed an interest in signing the 32-year-old.

Sheffield Wednesday striker Chris O’Grady is now odds-on to be the Reds’ first signing ahead of the new season, although a deal is unlikely to be sorted until next week.