Jonson Clarke-Harris has been put on the transfer list by Peterborough United after scoring 27 goals in a campaign that ended with play-off heartbreak - and Stoke City-linked Ronnie Edwards is expected to leave this summer too.
Clarke-Harris, a 28-year-old League One heavyweight, has scored 74 goals in three seasons since moving to Peterborough from Bristol Rovers to fill the boots of Brentford-bound Ivan Toney. Twelve of those came in the Championship, although five were from the penalty spot - including one against Stoke. .
Centre-half Edwards, who was on Stoke's radar in January as a potential Harry Souttar replacement, has been tipped as one of the EFL's rising stars and has been a key player for Posh at the age of 20. He has also tentatively been linked with Tottenham and West Ham.
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A return to the Championship had seemed on the cards after a 4-0 play-off semi-final first leg win over Sheffield Wednesday - but Wednesday turned it around to win the second leg 5-1 after extra-time then went through in a shoot-out.
Clarke-Harris is one of nine senior players to subsequently be made available for transfer, as well as fellow regular Frankie Kent, a 27-year-old centre-half. Peterborough added a note to the list to explain the decision is "in line with the club’s policy of listing players who are entering the final year of their contract".
Assist-king Joe Ward has been offered a new three-year contract by Darren Ferguson, who has agreed to stay on as manager, but bids are anticipated for Edwards and 24-year-old central midfielder Jack Taylor.
Ferguson wants to switch focus, telling the Peterborough Telegraph: “There has to be a reset and a focus on the young players and on the medium and long term rather than the short. It doesn’t mean we can’t be successful in the short term but the expectations have to be realistic and that might mean not saying ‘Peterborough are going to go and smash League One next season’ because that’s probably not going to happen.
“We are going to go younger with the squad, quite a lot of the squad that are here now will not be when the season starts if possible. It was pivotal in my decision, I have to be motivated; it had to be a complete refresh. Every three or four years there needs to be a freshness- either the manager moves on or the players need to change."
He added: “We’re obviously going to be selling our best players if we can agree fees. Jack Taylor and Ronnie Edwards are the obvious ones and there’s one or two players in that group who have requested to go on the transfer list.
“It’s exciting for me to develop these younger players and put them in a position in one or two year’s time to be really equipped. We do want to be a Championship club but that may take a little bit longer than normal."
England youth defender Edwards, currently playing in the under-20s World Cup, got an A grade in the Telegraph's end of season report.
They wrote: "A campaign of supreme growth. Questions were asked in the first few games about whether he could be used in a back two but he has answered those emphatically. Would be a surprise to see him at the club next season."
Jack Taylor got an A too, with "Post expected to be inundated with offers in the summer" and Clarke Harris an A- with a telling entry: "His playing style will always divide opinion but you can't argue against the record of a man who has scored 31 and 26 goals in consecutive League One campaigns. Does need to do more in games at times to hold up the ball at times but his numbers put him among the best strikers League One has seen."
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