Prutton stays for now

Last updated : 11 January 2007 By Chris C
In a pleasant break from the Gareth Bale speculation, David Prutton is the centre of attention with Saints rejecting a bid from his hometown club Hull. With the player out of contract in the summer and out of the starting line-up, Saints are understandably exploring their options.

Prutton was of course set to move to Leeds at the beginning of the season, only for the move to fall through due to the ankle injury that has restricted him to a handful of appearance for the first team.

With Prutton still finding his way back to fitness he has had little time to impress the manager, putting in some typically committed but mixed displays, with the highlight a somewhat fortuitous rebounded goal in the mud against Leicester.

Prutton is said to be keen to stay and fight for his place and Burley in public at least is saying that he wants him to stay: "I spoke to David and he's committed to the club but naturally wants first team football. At the moment he's not a first team regular in the starting XI and it's a case of looking at it from there."

Just as likely is that Hull's bid doesn't match Saints' valuation of the player, with the player happy to earn a new contract in the months ahead or enjoy the financial advantages of a Bosman in the summer.

At present it is difficult to see where the likeable midfielder can slot into the team. In central midfield Pele and Wright are the preferred partnership, with Viafara and when fit Idiakez other options.

However, depending on how Powell's knee is feeling after his first game back, Pele may have to temporarily slip back to central defence in Claus' absence freeing up a place in central midfield for Viafara or Prutton.

On Saints' problem position on the right of midfield, Prutton is another option and played some of his best Premiership football there before his moment of madness against Arsenal. Licka looked lively when coming in against Torquay and may have done enough to earn a start.

Part of Prutton's problem is his versatility as he has never nailed down a position in central or right midfield and indeed played some of the Leicester game at left midfield. That versatility makes him a useful squad player and unless Burley gets a much better bid in for him, Prutts should be a regular in the squad if not at present the starting line-up.