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Wagstaff heads released list

Posted: Wed 08 May 2013
Author: Gary Haines

Scott Wagstaff, Ricardo Fuller, Matt Taylor and Salim Kerkar will not be offered new deals by Charlton, the club announced on Wednesday

Gary Haines reports

Scott Wagstaff, Ricardo Fuller, Matt Taylor and Salim Kerkar will not be offered new deals by Charlton, the club announced on Wednesday.

The out-of-contract quartet will leave the club following the conclusion of the Championship campaign, with winger Wagstaff ending a 15-year association with the Addicks after making his final appearance in Saturday’s 4-1 defeat of Bristol City at The Valley.

Frontman Fuller did not feature against the Robins, while Kerkar and Taylor were unused substitutes.

The news means that six Charlton players have now been told that they will not be offered new contracts this summer, following the confirmation of the departures of John Sullivan and Yado Mambo last week.

Kent native Wagstaff, a graduate of the club’s renowned youth set-up, skippered the U18s to the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup in 2007/08 and broke into the first team at the end of that campaign, debuting at Barnsley on April 26th.

He made nine league and cup appearances for the club this season, scoring the club’s first goal of 2012/13 in the Carling Cup clash against Leyton Orient.

Wagstaff would appear for the O’s on loan later in the season before returning to SE7 with a bang in January, netting his first Championship goal on his first league start, against Blackpool.

Most at home on the right, the 23-year-old started six of the following seven games on the opposite flank, but saw his opportunities subsequently fade.

His cameo on Saturday, when he was denied a farewell goal by a late goalline clearance, was his 141st appearance for the club, during which time he has scored 22 times, and he was named the Charlton Athletic Community Trust Player of the Year the following night.

Recruited by the Addicks at the age of eight after being spotted on a community course, ‘Waggy’ enjoyed loan experience at Northwich Victoria and AFC Bournemouth earlier in his career, and was twice named the club’s young player of the year in 2008 and 2010.

Boss Chris Powell said: “Scott has been superb since I walked through the door as manager, but I’d already got to know him as a young player during my playing days. 

“He is now at the stage where he needs to get his career going. He was an integral part of our League One campaign, playing in a number of games and scoring a number of goals, but this year has been harder for him with regards to playing time. 

“I don’t want that to go to waste, and I think that in the long term he will benefit from playing regularly. 

“It was with a heavy heart that the decision was made. I know he’s a fantastic young man to have in the squad and he is popular with the players and the supporters.

“Charlton have been a big part of his life, but I think he’s now at the stage where he may have to go out and grow. He will have that opportunity, and I’m sure that there will be no shortage of offers for him.”

Striker Fuller returned to Charlton in August following his release from Premier League side Stoke City, more than a decade after he originally The Valley on trial from Jamaican side Tivoli Gardens.

A back injury, flagged up during his medical, eventually scuppered his hopes of joining on a permanent basis under then manager Alan Curbishley, but his return added a different dimension to the club’s attack.

On his debut on September 1st last year his header was diverted into his own net by Nottingham Forest keeper Lee Camp, and he broke his duck in the away match at Ipswich Town the following month, going on to score five times in 31 appearances.

One was a goal-of-the-season contender against Peterborough United on November 27th, and he also opened the scoring in the derby at former club Crystal Palace and netted the final goal in the club record 6-0 away win at Barnsley on April 13th.

“After initially missing pre-season, he was always playing catch-up, but he showed us some vintage Ricardo Fuller at times, namely his goal against Peterborough and his performance and goal against [Crystal] Palace,” said Chris.

“He was disrupted by a number of injuries which, at times, halted his rhythm, but he’s a real character who boasts plenty of experience. He remains very popular among the players here, but from the club’s point of view, every aspect has to be assessed with regards to new deals.”

Centre-half Taylor was a mainstay of the club’s League One title tilt last term, striking up a formidable partnership with Michael Morrison after joining as a free agent during the club’s recruitment drive in summer 2011.

The former Exeter City defender would assume the Valley vice-captaincy after leading the Grecians to two promotions in three seasons, including a return to The Football League.

He played in 37 of the club’s opening 38 League One fixtures, leading the side in the absence of Johnnie Jackson, and grabbed his sole goal for the club in the FA Cup first-round clash against previous club FC Halifax United before losing his place to Leon Cort during the run-in.

His chances have been restricted this season due to the early-season form of Cort and the emergence of Dorian Dervite, and a freak foot injury suffered in the warm-up to the third game of the season against Hull City also hampered his opportunities.

After fighting back to fitness, Taylor started a Championship match for the first time in the much-needed home win against Blackpool on January 12th, and played the following two games before returning for three more successive starts in Mach.

His last outing for the club was from the bench in the gritty 0-0 draw at Brighton & Hove Albion, a 14th league and cup appearance of the season. In total, he played 58 times for the club.

“Matt is a player I could quite easily keep in and around the squad,” said Powell. “I know for a fact that he wouldn’t let anyone down or let this football club down.

“He is now at a stage when he needs to get as much playing action as he can from his career, and I just can’t promise him that.

“I’d love to keep him around because he’s a superb character. He’s a great trainer - one of the best trainers I’ve ever seen at this football club. He managed to play a few games this season, but unfortunately fell ill just before the run-in, and obviously everybody knows we remained unbeaten after that Millwall game.”

Midfielder Kerkar joined the club after impressing on trial during pre-season and departs after making 24 appearances.

He netted his first goal during a pre-season behind-closed-doors friendly against Southend United, and the left-sider’s full debut came in a 2-1 win at Ipswich when he set up Jackson’s opening goal, one of a number of assists in the first half of the campaign.

The former Rangers man offered balance in midfield after skipper Jackson’s switch inside, and also slotted in as an emergency left-back on a couple of occasions.

He struggled to make an impact in 2013, but returned to the fold in the final month and scored his first goal after coming off the bench in the unforgettable 6-0 win at Oakwell last month.

Powell said: “It’s quite easy to forget Salim’s contribution this season. He was a player who came to our attention while we were away [on tour] and has been involved in close to half our games, featuring prominently in the first half of the season.

“Since the turn of the year he has not featured much, but he was integral in the early part of the season and he had plenty of assists, and even had to play left-back when we had a number of injuries. He did very well for us so we wish him well in the future, as we do all those who are leaving us.”