LOUIS Almond and Alex Kempster are the only out-of-contract York City players to be offered new deals for next seasons.

The other nine, including the likes of Aidan Connolly, Connor Brown and Connor Smith, have been released, along with James Gray, Theo Wharton, Luke Simpson, Michael Rankine, Sam Muggleton and Clovis Kamdjo.

An agreement has been reached, meanwhile, over the remaining year on Daniel Rowe’s contract, meaning he has also left Bootham Crescent, along with loan signings Jonny Burn, Raul Correia and Alex Pattison.

As previously stated, Kamdjo has been invited back for pre-season to prove himself worthy of being retained, having only made one start under City chief Martin Gray due to his cruciate and anterior ligament damage injury.

Eleven players – Adam Bartlett, Ryan Whitley, Josh Law, Dan Parslow, Hamza Bencherif, Sean Newton, David Ferguson, Adriano Moke, Simon Heslop, Vinny Steels and Jon Parkin – remain on the Bootham Crescent books beyond this summer, but Gray also added that certain individuals on that list could be made available for transfer.

Decisions on the club’s second-year scholars will not be made until all reserve and youth-team fixtures are completed, with the second-string concluding their campaign at home to Doncaster tomorrow, kick-off 1pm at Bootham Crescent.

Explaining the reasons for Almond and Kempster surviving the cull, Gray said: “With Louis, there’s certainly a player there, but I’ve not seen enough of him.

“He could have got us the one or two goals we were looking for at the end had he not been injured but, with his shoulder and hamstring problems, I don’t think he’s played any more than three games on the trot for me. If he signs the new deal and gets a good pre-season, hopefully he can give us a good attacking option.

“Kempster is one for the future and possibly not a player that will start week in, week out. He’s shown glimpses of what he’s about but has had a couple of injuries adapting to this level.

“He has a real hunger and desire though and he told me that he would have joined York City for £10 a week, because it’s not about the money for him, it’s about wanting to be a professional. He has the bit between his teeth, which some people didn’t have.”

On those retained and his summer recruitment plans, Gray added: “We have kept some very good players and, now, we’ve got to make sure we bring in better than what has left.

“I want an 18-man squad ideally, including young Vinnie Steels, but I’m not looking to bring in 18 or 19-year-olds. We mainly want senior players who have done it at this level or above.

“The players we recruit will have a massive part to play and I’m really excited about the future. I won’t be having a summer holiday, because this is the most important time of the year now to make sure we come back with a squad that has a new philosophy and mentality of what this club is all about.”

Admitting that it was easier to part company with some players than others, Gray reasoned: “One or two have just fallen short but were really honest players and they are the more difficult conversations. Others are pleased to see the back of me and I’m pleased to see the back of them.”

Gray went on to suggest that 25-goal top-scorer Parkin, who will turn 37 next term, would continue to be the club’s on-pitch talisman, whilst also assisting backroom staff too.

“He’s the best goalscorer in the league and, when he came on at the weekend, there was an aura about him,” Gray said of the ex-Championship campaigner. “We’ve got to build the team around him.

“He’s so influential and the season hit a stalemate when he was out injured. He will continue to play a big role on the pitch and do more with my team off it as well.”

City will report back for pre-season training, meanwhile, on Wednesday, June 27 with Gray, whose Darlington team won 2-0 at eventual champions Salford on this term’s opening day, insisting that his players must aim to be the fittest in National League North.

“It will be the toughest pre-season the players have ever done,” he promised. “They have all got to come back in tip-top shape as well, because we’ve got to come out of the blocks flying.”