YORK City manager Terry Dolan has this afternoon wielded the axe on five of the nine players who will be out of contract at Bootham Crescent.

Marc Thompson had already been told his contract would not be renewed but the midfielder has now been joined by team-mates John Fielding, Neville Stamp, Nick Richardson and Matt Hocking, who have all been told they can go.

Goalkeeper Russ Howarth, defender Darren Edmondson, striker Peter Duffield and midfielder Stephen Brackstone have been offered new deals.

Hocking's departure is perhaps the biggest surprise given that he has played the vast majority of City's games this season.

However, City are currently top heavy with centre-backs with Mike Basham, Gary Hobson, Chris Smith, Chris Brass, Jon Parkin and Stuart Wise all able to play at the heart of the Minstermen defence.

On-loan defender Scott Jones has also made it clear he would like to make his move to Bootham Crescent permanent, which would add yet another centre-back to the squad.

The Minstermen are also wanting to cut expenditure and Hocking is the only player who remained from the Neil Thompson era when the City wage-bill increased significantly.

Fielding's departure may also be a surprise after the youngster enjoyed a prolonged run in the team at the start of the season.

However, he is yet another centre-back and has been dogged by injury.

Despite returning to the reserve team in recent weeks the fact he has not earned a first-team recall suggested his time was up.

Full-back Stamp has also suffered badly with injury this season and never really established himself as a regular in the City line-up.

Midfielder Nick Richardson is one of the older players in the squad and given the emergence of players like Brackstone, Leigh Wood and Lee Bullock this season his departure is not a surprise.

Updated: 15:26 Friday, April 19, 2002