Foster: I want to stay

The Northern Echo: STAYING? Experienced defender Steve Foster wants to resolve his dispute with Darlington STAYING? Experienced defender Steve Foster wants to resolve his dispute with Darlington

STEVE Foster has announced his intention to resolve the contract dispute that is keeping him out of the Darlington team.

The experienced defender is at loggerheads with Quakers over a clause in his contract that entitles him to a longer deal should the club’s former captain start two more matches.

The clause, which does not apply to substitute appearances, means manager Steve Staunton has no intention of selecting the 35-year-old for the foreseeable future.

Chairman Raj Singh explained some weeks ago that the club’s stance is purely financial, with Foster being Quakers’ highest paid player.

That stance, coupled with the opening of the transfer window, has led to speculation that Foster could leave.

Foster, who has been replaced as captain by Ian Miller, explained: “At the beginning of the season I renegotiated my terms to accept a wage cut and, in turn, they agreed that if I played 20 games, it would assure me of another season on my deal.

“I’d already played 18 times when they made it clear they would no longer consider me for selection and gave the captaincy to Ian Miller.

“It’s very frustrating because all I want to do is help us in the very difficult situation we find ourselves in.

“I want to get together to sort things out and get back onto the field.”

Due to the impasse, Foster has not started a game since November 24, but four consecutive postponements mean his team-mates have hardly been in action either.

Saturday’s match at home to Port Vale became the latest to be affected by the weather and no date has been announced for the rearranged game.

The succession of call-offs mean Darlington now have at least one game in hand on the teams near them at the bottom of the table, though their situation marginally worsened at the weekend.

Three teams – Northampton, Cheltenham and Grimsby – towards the bottom were all picked up points.

Quakers are due to resume their league programme with Saturday’s trip to Bury for a fixture that will represent their first match since the December 12 drubbing at Torquay.

In the meantime the squad has changed somewhat because all but one of the loan players have now returned to their clubs. Striker James Collins remains for three more weeks.

Staunton has previously said he would like Jonathan Hogg to return from Aston Villa while the manager also expects to sign two players from the League of Ireland.

Meanwhile, former Quakers assistant manager Dean Windass has said he believes he could have helped lift the club from the bottom of the table had he not been sacked.

He and manager Colin Todd departed Darlington after failing to win any of the club’s first nine league games.

Windass has since spent time working in the media but says he is keen for a return to management.

“I believed that that given the time me and Colin would have turned it around,” he said.

“I’ve been a striker for many years and I knew that if I didn’t score goals I wouldn’t be in the team. So as a manager I know if you don’t produce results then you’re going to be in trouble and that’s quite right because it’s a results business.

“It was a difficult club to manage because of all the issues involved with the finances but it was a very good experience.

“I learnt a lot from Colin and I was grateful for the things he told me and the experience I got from that will hopefully stand me in good stead for the future.

“There were so many things that you don’t see as a player that I now understand because of working with Colin.

“It was interesting to see how it worked and how to deal with all the different things pulling you in different directions.

Windass applied for the Grimsby Town managerial position, after Mike Newell was sacked in October.

He added: “It’s disappointing not to get anything so far but I’m prepared to be patient and wait for my chance.

“I believe I’ll get a chance and I can do a good job so there is no need to panic.

“Like all managers who aren’t working I have to be patient because there are hundreds of us and very few jobs.

“It’s a waiting game but I’ve prepared my CV and I’ve put it in a few places and it is hopefully just a matter of time.”

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