Stephen O’Donnell had the option to go elsewhere in the winter transfer window – but now he’s pondering an extended stay close to home in Motherwell.
The right-back joined the Well from Kilmarnock in the summer on a short-term deal that ran out at the end of January. Amid interest and offers from elsewhere, Stoke City one name linked with his services, O’Donnell decided to extend his Motherwell stay until the end of the season.
He’s happy to have impressed new manager Graham Alexander as O’Donnell looks to a potentially longer-term stay: “I’m happy to get the contract sorted out. It probably didn’t help the situation with the change of manager.
“He is obviously wanting to have a look at me, naturally you’re thinking he might not fancy you, that’s just football, but thankfully since he’s came in I’ve got on great with him and I’m delighted to extend my contract until the end of the season.
“The contract situation is something I was always comfortable with, I was never that stressed, and I enjoy my football and love the location. We’ve been in some discussions about maybe extending that; again like all these things it needs to suit all parties. We’re very close but there are some things, unfortunately, whenever you do this.
“Agents get a lot of stick but this is where they come in handy. Me and the gaffer just work hard, I’m trying my best for the club every day, and hopefully the agents and the board can get it sorted. I’m just trying to make decisions that are best for myself and my family and just now I’m thoroughly enjoying my time at Motherwell.”
O’Donnell’s explains why he wasn’t tempted to leave Motherwell last month: “There were a couple of other offers, certainly at the start of the window. I was able to go, but I was very content, I didn’t need to go, and if it wasn’t right for me or my family I wasn’t going to go, so that’s where it ended.
“I’m just trying to make decisions that are best for myself and my family and just now I’m thoroughly enjoying my time at Motherwell. There were a couple of other offers, certainly at the start of the window. I was able to go, but I was very content, I didn’t need to go.
“If it wasn’t right for me or my family I wasn’t going to go, so that’s where it ended. I’m still very relaxed, I’m enjoying my football, which is nice, and hopefully everything continues in a good vein.”
With Scotland teammate Declan Gallagher injured at the moment, the captaincy at Fir Park has fallen at O’Donnell’s door, taking the armband for the first time in his career against Dundee United as the Well moved into ninth with a 2-1 win.
He says it’s a real honour as the stand-in captain gets set to lead the Steelmen out away to Celtic this afternoon: “Wednesday was the first time I have had the armband in my senior career. It was a great honour in which the gaffer showed great faith in me.
“I really enjoyed it. Thankfully we managed to get the win as otherwise I’m sure I wouldn’t live it down. It was one of my contract demands, take it off Declan, he’s hopeless! Put it in bold writing! I should have put in a captain’s bonus! But in all seriousness, it was a surprise I was very happy with.
“Celtic are a massive club, with great players and staff and that’s where we just need to hopefully do everything we do right, and if they have an off-day, great. I’ve been there before when you’ve thought they’ve had an off-day but they get the goal, and they have the quality at any minute to hurt you – we just need to make sure we do everything we can to hopefully get if not three points, one point.