MOSES Ashikodi and Erik Tonne have become the first players to be told their services will not be required by York City next season.
But manager Gary Mills has not ruled out a return to Bootham Crescent for on-loan Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson and is ready for a battle to retain James Meredith’s services for the club’s first campaign back in the Football League.
Former England youth international striker Ashikodi has been released after only managing three starts and scoring one goal following his November arrival from Kettering.
Tonne also only made the first XI three times after joining on loan from Sheffield United at the end of the January transfer window.
The Norwegian, who netted the goal that secured City’s Blue Square Bet Premier play-off place at Braintree, has now returned to the League One Blades with Mills admitting that he would not be interested in recruiting him again for 2012/13.
He said: “Moses has gone. His move here did not work out as well as we would have liked but we have had no problems with him and wish him all the best for the future.
“We won’t be looking to bring Erik Tonne back either but, like Moses and the rest of the squad, he played his part in our season.
“They all deserve credit for the roles they played, but some more than others.”
Gibson, 19, has signalled his intention to challenge for a first-team place in the Championship at the Riverside next season after a successful three months with the Minstermen.
But Mills will be interested to hear the outcome of the former England U17 and U18 international’s talks with Boro boss Tony Mowbray over the summer.
The City chief added: “He did really well for us and we will see how things go with him.
“I don’t know what will happen at the moment.”
Meredith is entitled to leave the club on a free transfer under the Bosman ruling, which will alert the likes of Crewe Alexandra and Chesterfield, who expressed an interest in his services last summer.
Championship pair Watford and Burnley have also been linked with the 24-year-old Australian.
Said Mills: “He is one I would like to keep and, if other people want him, that proves what a good player he is.
“We will be negotiating with him to see if we can do something on that front.”
Meredith is one of 11 players out of contract at Bootham Crescent.
The others waiting to hear whether they will be offered a new deal at the club are Dan Parslow, Adriano Moké, Ashley Chambers, Jon Challinor, Chris Doig, Jamal Fyfield, Danny Pilkington, Eugen Bopp, Matthew Blinkhorn and Scott Brown.
Like Meredith, over 24-year-olds Parslow, Challinor, Doig, Bopp, Blinkhorn and Brown are all entitled to free transfers under the Bosman ruling while City can look to claim a compensation fee should they offer new terms to Moké, Chambers, Fyfield and Pilkington but the players decide to leave for new pastures.
Captain Chris Smith, contrary to previous reports, is under contract next season along with Michael Ingham, Lanre Oyebanjo, David McGurk, Michael Potts, Scott Kerr, Paddy McLaughlin, Jason Walker, Matty Blair, Liam Henderson, Jamie Reed and Paul Musselwhite.
• Blue Square Bet Premier title winners Fleetwood Town have made their third signing since the end of last season.
Released Crawley left-back Dean Howell has joined the Cod Army following the captures of goalkeeper Chris Maxwell and striker Alex Titchener from Wrexham and Witton Albion respectively.