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Gillingham defender Luke O'Neill was left out of the squad for the match at Blackpool

Defender Luke O’Neill missed the trip to Blackpool because his contract is up this summer.

The 27-year-old right-back has been a regular starter over the last two seasons but was left at home for the final game.

Patterson explained post-match the reasoning behind his omission.

Gillingham defender Luke O’Neill Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham defender Luke O’Neill Picture: Ady Kerry

“Luke’s contract is out (this summer) and I had chat with him the other day and I asked him what he thought,” said Patterson. “We decided to leave him at home.

“That’s no problem but with his contract situation, we decided it was probably better to play lads who were contracted for next season and go from there.

“It was no problem on our part for Luke’s decision to not come.”

The caretaker boss was asked if the decision was made because O’Neill had already decided he wouldn’t be here next season.

“Not really,” he replied. “It was just that in the conversation we had he indicated that he didn’t know what his future held and we thought it was fair on him. I decided to play Barry and Bradley.

“Tom (Eaves) played, he is out of contract in the summer, but everyone is different.”

Eaves and O’Neill aren’t the only players out of contract this summer.

Goalkeeper Tomas Holy is another, along with Alex Lacey, Billy Bingham (who wasn’t selected on Saturday either) and a handful of younger pros.

Patterson said he doesn’t know if he’ll be helping make a decision on the contract offers.

He has been overseeing management duties in the wake of Steve Lovell’s sacking but the club are seeking a new permanent manager.

The Gills coach said: “I will probably see the chairman on Tuesday and see what happens then.

“Of course it can take time, it’s not always done overnight. At the moment the players who are out of contract, their deals run out on June 30 and anybody who is to be offered terms has to have the offer by the end of May, so we will see where we are.

“The players know the situation and know how it works. They will find out, like we all will, in due course.”

Gillingham are hosting a Family Fun Day at Priestfield on Monday.

Entry is free and the event gets under way at 11am with first team players in attendance.

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