YORK City manager Nigel Worthington feels “positive” about the chances of retaining the services of Lanre Oyebanjo and Michael Coulson for next season.
The out-of-contract pair have been offered new deals for 2014/15, while Sander Puri, Adam Reed, Calvin Andrew, Tom Allan, Chris Dickinson and Shaq McDonald have all been released by the Minstermen.
Oyebanjo, who scooped three Player of the Year awards this week, is believed to be interesting the likes of League One Crawley Town and both he and Coulson would be entitled to free transfers under the Bosman ruling.
Oyebanjo has requested time to consider his offer, but The Press understands Coulson is close to putting pen to paper.
Having held discussions with the duo yesterday, Worthington was encouraged by their responses, saying: “I am very positive about both situations.
“Lanre wants to go on holiday and think about things and that’s perfectly fine. I’ve heard the rumours but he’s not told me directly that he would like to move back down south again and I know he has thoroughly enjoyed his time at the club and appreciated how well he has been treated.
“Sometimes, that counts for a lot and, if Lanre does move on, I know he is the type of player who will need that club and the personnel to be right. Going into a different environment might not suit him, but he will have to decide what’s right with him.”
Reed and Andrew both finished the season in City’s starting XI but have not been handed new deals at Bootham Crescent, while Worthington also decided against an option to extend the stay of Estonian international Puri in North Yorkshire.
On that trio, he explained: “The football club is at a stage where we want to nudge things forward all the time.
“Adam played his part towards the end of the season but I want to exercise my right to have a look around over the course of the summer to see if there’s anything we can improve on in that area to make us stronger. I explained that to him and he accepted it.
“Calvin bought into our system very well and worked really hard but the one thing he was shy on was goals and efforts on goal which, in his role, he has to provide. The harsh reality of the game is, if you want to be a centre forward, you have to score goals.
“Sander was unfortunate to pick up a couple of hamstring and knee injuries that hampered his season and he never really got going after that so he is free to go elsewhere.”
Teenage defender Allan, meanwhile, has had the offer of a two-year contract withdrawn after he failed to accept it within a one-month timeframe.
Gateshead, managed by ex-City chief Gary Mills, are believed to be interested in his services, but any potential future employer would be required to pay a compensation fee, agreed between the two clubs or settled by a tribunal, if they signed him.
“We offered Tom a two-year contract but, as part of that, he should have come back to the club within four weeks,” Worthington revealed. “He hasn’t done that and we can’t hang around.
“We are looking at another centre half and I am not the type of manager who wants to carry a lot of bodies so, unfortunately for Tom, we explained that we were withdrawing the offer because of the lack of a response from him but we will still be entitled to a compensation fee if another club takes him on and we wish him all the best for the future.”
First-year pro Dickinson leaves the club after just two brief substitute outings while mid-season 18-year-old recruit McDonald failed to make a single senior appearance.
On their departures, Worthington added: “They are two young lads but, if you carry too many bodies, players can soon get lost so we have freed them both to get on with their lives and careers elsewhere because we are looking to strengthen the squad.”
Cameron Murray, meanwhile, is the only second-year apprentice, to be offered and sign professional terms with Tom Chamberlain, who made two first-team substitute appearances last season, being released after an extended opportunity to prove his worth.
“We gave Tom four weeks extra over the other second-years but, unfortunately, there was just not quite enough coming through from him,” the City boss pointed out.
With David McGurk also retiring from the full-time game, the departures leave the Minstermen with 12 players - Ryan Bowman, Josh Carson, Wes Fletcher, Michael Ingham, Ryan Jarvis, Keith Lowe, John McCombe, Lewis Montrose, Murray, Dan Parslow, Russell Penn and Tom Platt – who are under contract for next season.