Motherwell winger Elliott Frear has insisted that a potential mass player exodus from Fir Park this summer is not adversely affecting performances, writes Craig Goldthorp.
Saturday’s 1-1 Scottish Premiership derby draw at Hamilton Accies – Motherwell’s third game without a win – saw them impress early on and lead through a David Turnbull goal before fading late on to concede an equaliser to Marios Ogkmpoe.
After the match some ’Well fans took to social media to claim that the lacklustre latter stages of the match could be explained by the fact that 12 first teamers – including Frear – are out of contract this summer.
But ex-Forest Green Rovers winger Frear (28) told the Times and Speaker: “It is not affecting performances at all.
“That is football.
“Obviously there’s guys out of contract and hopefully that gets sorted in the next coming weeks.
“Of course I would like to stay at Motherwell.
“I’ve been here a long time now.
“It’s not a case that I want to leave.
“It’s just whether I want a change of lifestyle.
“I love the club, I love being here.
“I love playing for the manager, the boys are excellent here.
“I just want to sit down and have a chat with my family.
“We’ll see in the next couple of weeks.”
Among the other potential departures, at time of going to press exciting young winger Jake Hastie was expected to sign for Rangers this week after rejecting ’Well’s terms, while new Fir Park deals were still being pondered over by Frear and his fellow midfielders Alex Gorrin and Chris Cadden.
Also out of contract on May 31 are Motherwell stars Curtis Main, Carl McHugh, Craig Tanner and Christian Mbulu, with the loans of Gboly Ariyibi, Tom Aldred, Conor Sammon and Ross McCormack all expiring.
Frear revealed that he and the rest of the ’Well squad were disappointed not to add to Turnbull’s first half goal against Accies, such was the visitors’ dominance.
“I think we almost found it too easy first half,” the Exeter-born winger added.
“Maybe we could have had two or three more.
“But we didn’t and obviously they’re fighting for their lives.
“And that’s how football goes, they get a chance and they get back in it.
“Obviously we’re all very disappointed in there.
“We needed to carry on in the second half what we did in the first half, which we didn’t and we got punished.
“I don’t think it was complacency.
“We just didn’t do the things we were doing in the first half.
“It was nothing to do with: ‘Oh look it’s too easy’.”
Eighth placed Motherwell’s 1-1 draw at Accies, combined with rivals St Johnstone beating Dundee 2-0 at the weekend, means that the Perth side have a three-point advantage over the Steelmen in the battle for seventh place with four games remaining.
Extra prizemoney of around £60,000 is on offer for finishingseventh instead of eighth (£1.36 million instead of £1.3 million) and Frear revealed that the Motherwell squad are very keen to finish strongly this season and finish ‘Best of the Rest’ by topping the bottom half of the Scottish Premiership.
“It’s massive for the club,” Frear said.
“Again we’re very disappointed in that (being three points behind St Johnstone).
“There are only four games to go so we still have it all to do.
“We still have to play St Johnstone later in the season (on May 11) so hopefully we can beat them.”
More immediately, Frear and his mates face a home game against bottom club Dundee this Saturday, kick-off 3pm, as they bid to make inroads against a St Johnstone side who travel to St Mirren the same day.
Frear said: “It’s a must win game for us.
“Obviously it’s good that we have something to play for now.
“We have someone to catch now and we’re going to be fully focused for Dundee on Saturday.
“Hopefully we can pick up three points.”
Meanwhile, Frear’s team-mate Aldred has admitted that local rivals Hamilton were worth the point they got against the Steelmen.
Aldred said: “The second half performance wasn’t good enough in terms of we didn’t do the basics well enough and it cost us.
“And to be fair you can’t begrudge Hamilton a point because I felt second half they were better than us.”