YORK City trainees Chris Dickenson and Mike Atkinson have been offered first-year professional deals but former first-team winger Reece Kelly has been released.

If centre-forward Dickenson and Atkinson, who can operate at right-back or in midfield, put pen to paper on their contracts that will mean three players from this season’s second-year scholars will have progressed into the senior squad ranks with defender Tom Allan having been awarded terms back in December.

City boss Nigel Worthington was guided by former youth-team coach Steve Torpey and head of academy coaching Richard Dryden as he made decisions on the under-18 players’ futures and, on Dickenson and Atkinson, he said: “I am delighted for them.

“I’ve only been here short-term so Steve and Richard have made a lot of the decisions but it’s great when you are telling players they are going to be signing their first professional contracts.”

Despite 16 years as a manager, though, Worthington still finds it difficult to inform teenage footballers their services will not be retained.

Kelly made his senior debut as a substitute during the final game of the regular campaign last season at home to Forest Green Rovers.

He was also used frequently in pre-season and made the first-team bench again at Rochdale this season.

Admitting that the decision to release Kelly was a marginal one, Worthington said: “He was in the previous manager’s squad and I took him to Torquay with us and it was one of those borderline decisions on whether to offer him something or not.

“Unfortunately, football’s a cruel game as we all know but those that keep bouncing back will survive.

“So many top players have been in the same situation but, if you have enough belief, you can prove clubs wrong.

“For the period of my time in the game, there’s probably no darker side to the job than when you have to tell young players that there’s not a contract there for them.

“But we are here to help them if we can do anything to move them forward.”