BRENTFORD manager Wally Downes has been boosted by the decisions of youngsters Lee Fieldwick and Danny Thomas to join Leo Roget, Eddie Hutchinson and Alan Julian in signing new contracts for the club.

Downes reveals: "Kevin O'Connor has also agreed to a new three-year deal which he should sign as soon as he gets back from playing for the Republic of Ireland. I am confident Matt Somner and Jay Smith will stay and am hopeful that Steve Hunt will agree to what we have offered him as well."

Left-back Fieldwick has signed for two years, while Under 19 captain and centre-back Thomas has committed himself for next season, with the club having an option for a further year.

It completes a remarkable 12 months for Fieldwick, who broke into the first team back in February, after recovering from serious injury and illness. Thomas, 19, becomes the last trainee to sign professional forms for Brentford since the scheme started at Griffin Park in 1987 as the club are now committed to the Scholarship programme. His traineeship was extended for a further year by Brentford as he suffered cruciate ligament damage in a FA Youth Cup tie at Luton Town in November 2001 that kept him out of action for seven months. He fought back to full fitness this season and captained the Under 19s to their Merit division success. Director of Youth Geoff Taylor sees him as a star of the future.

Brentford have parted with midfield ace Martin Rowlands and strikers Leon Constantine, Efan Ekoku and the on-loan Mikael Antoine-Curier, who has returned to Nottingham Forest. Others being released are midfielders Mark Williams and Riz Rehman and right-back Jay Lovett, recently on loan to Gravesend.

But the Bees are taking up the one-year option on centre-back Ibrahima Sonko.

The 25-year-old Constantine, for whom Millwall paid £25,000 in September, 2000, has failed to score in the Second Division for Brentford after joining them at the start of the season on a one-year contract. He may now join Oxford United. Nigerian international Ekoku, 35, having scored 100 League goals for AFC Bournemouth, Norwich, Wimbledon and Sheffield Wednesday, has not even played in the Brentford first team after joining on a non-contract basis at the end of March.

Brentford manager Wally Downes, who last week underwent a shoulder operation, is hopeful of signing striker Scott Ramsay from Eastbourne Borough for around £25,000 as well as persuading Portsmouth to loan him Rowan Vine for a further season. Paul Smith, Michael Dobson, Stephen Evans, Mark Peters and Andy Frampton are already under contract for next season, but Smith and Dobson are being asked to sign for a further year.

Brentford have exercised Jay Tabb's one-year option so that the 19-year-old midfielder will stay at Griffin Park for the 2003-04 season after recovering from injury.

May 16, 2003 11:00