MIDFIELD trio Steve Bowey, Mark Convery and Lewis McMahon are among eight players that have been released by York City boss Billy McEwan.

In addition, defenders Nathan Peat, Anthony Lloyd, Craig James, James Dudgeon and Darren Hollingsworth failed to make City's retained list as McEwan begins his preparations for next season.

On-loan goalkeeper Paddy Gamble has also returned to Nottingham Forest and, with Clayton Donaldson bound for Hibernian, McEwan has offered new terms to 13 of last season's first-team squad.

They are Tom Evans, Darren Craddock, David McGurk, Danny Parslow, Manny Panther, Neal Bishop, Martyn Woolford, Ross Greenwood, Craig Farrell, Richard Brodie, Ben Purkiss, Alex Rhodes and Phil Bell.

It is understood City have one-year options to sign all the above-mentioned players apart from midfielders Panther and Bishop, who could weigh up their options over the summer.

Bishop is 24 and would be entitled to a free transfer under the Bosman ruling.

Skipper Panther is a year younger but could also enjoy freedom of contract should he follow Donaldson and move to his native Scotland.

Rumours were circulating linking the former Partick Thistle midfielder to a move to newly-promoted Scottish Premier League outfit Gretna but Panther scotched such speculation.

He said: "I have not heard anything about that."

McEwan is also unaware of any activity on that front but admitted the club would be powerless to prevent Panther plying his trade north of the border.

He said: "If that was right, there's not much I can do about it if players want to chase the money. I've got an open mind and if players don't want to stay that's up to them.

"We've got players under option so they will be our players. One or two others have been made offers but players come and go since the Bosman ruling came in with its freedom of contract and I'd like to think we have the nucleus of a decent squad for next season even though we've lost a few players."

Bowey will leave KitKat Crescent after scoring eight goals in 47 outings but he turns 33 this summer and has been playing for the Minstermen on a part-time basis.

Full-back Lloyd also departs after making 35 appearances for City while Peat, Convery and Dudgeon have ended their two-year associations with the club.

Former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder McMahon has struggled for midfield opportunities and been limited to eight Conference starts while on-loan full-back James is now a free agent after also being deemed surplus to requirements by Darlington and first-year pro Hollingsworth leaves without making his senior debut.

City boss McEwan said: "They've all done a great job this season and some last but it's the harsh reality of football. Ideally, I would like to have kept them all and brought in five or six new players because they've all contributed to the progress of the club but the budget is tight.

"I need money from somewhere to bring better ones in and that comes from them leaving the club."

McEwan is hoping to begin his recruitment drive as soon as possible but added: "Players are not committing themselves at the moment and finances dictate."

Players offered deals

Phil Bell
Neal Bishop
Richard Brodie
Darren Craddock
Tom Evans
Craig Farrell
Ross Greenwood
David McGurk
Manny Panther
Danny Parslow
Ben Purkiss
Alex Rhodes
Martyn Woolford

Players released

Steve Bowey
Mark Convery
James Dudgeon
Darren Craddock
Darren Hollingsworth
Craig James
Anthony Lloyd
Lewis McMahon
Nathan PeatIn addition, teenage goalkeeper Paddy Gamble who was on loan from Nottingham Forest for the last month of the season has returned to his parent club.