LOAN trio Michael Rankine, John McGrath and Alex Rodman have been sent back to their parent clubs by York City manager Nigel Worthington.

The Minstermen chief decided on the move due to an excess of players at the club's Wigginton Road training ground as he tries to plot a successful battle against relegation.

City will still be obliged to pay the players' wages until the end of the season and Aldershot will not be able to select Rodman or Rankine, while Burton cannot call on the services of McGrath either.

But all three were deemed surplus to requirements at Bootham Crescent with only five on-loan players permitted in a matchday squad.

Temporary signings Jack O'Connell, Richard Cresswell, Josh Carson and Adam Reed are all first-choice selections in Worthington's current favoured first XI with Arron Jameson also needed as goalkeeping cover on the bench.

Worthington still has a 24-man squad for the final four fixtures of the season although Scott Kerr (calf) and Jon Challinor (broken fibula) are both sidelined.

Explaining his squad-trimming exercise, Worthington said: "Michael Rankine, John McGrath and Alex Rodman are all going back to their contracted clubs because we had a difficult number of players at the club.

"There were far, far too many and you need to focus on those who are in and around the first-team squad. Otherwise, everything can get a bit lost on the training ground.

"That's no disrespect to anyone and I want to thank all three lads for their efforts but, as I explained to them, they were not my loan signings and circumstances have dictated in their cases."

Worthington, meanwhile, is hoping Ipswich will agree to extend Carson's loan stay until the end of the season.

On Kerr and Challinor, the City boss added: "We are awaiting scan results on Scott Kerr's calf. Jon Challinor has started jogging and light ball work and, then, it's about building up his fitness and getting back into the cut and thrust of training."