With 15 professional players able to walk away for nothing on June 30 and scholars like Ronan Darcy also still up for grabs, Bolton could face significant problems if - as widely expected - the current hiatus continues towards the summer.
Authorities are currently aiming “no earlier than April 30” before reviewing their options on the resumption of the Premier League and EFL. The Football Association has also removed a statute which ensures all competitions are completed by June 1, meaning the 2019/20 season can carry on “indefinitely”.
Concerns have been voiced within the camp at the UniBol that there will not be sufficient time to cram in the club’s 10 remaining games before contracts expire. It is hoped some short-term measures could be implemented to re-word existing deals but, as yet, nothing has been finalised.
Only four of Bolton’s starting line-up in their last game against Burton Albion on March 10 are contracted to be with the club beyond the end of June.
And according to data on football statistics website Transfermrkt.com, only Burton have a comparative number of players whose contract expire in the summer 2020. The Brewers also have 15 players due to fall out of contract, with Accrington (14), MK Dons (11), Tranmere (11) and Sunderland (10) also in double figures.
A total of 193 League One players listed on the site will become free agents in the coming months, including Bolton first team regulars like Remi Matthews, Jason Lowe, Josh Emmanuel, Jack Hobbs, Ali Crawford, Joe Dodoo and Daryl Murphy.
Premier League clubs discussed plans in a conference call on Thursday and a report in the Daily Mail yesterday claimed June 1 was being seen as the target to resume all games.
It was reported elsewhere that by April 30 there should be enough information for clubs to be able to plan ahead with their training schedules to allow players to be fully fit by the time football resumes.
Any extension of contracts would also require all parties to agree – something which could be complicated if players have agreed deals to sign elsewhere for the 2020/21 season.