YORK City boss Steve Watson is close to conceding defeat in the quest for Scott Burgess’ signature.

The 21-year-old midfielder finished last season on loan with the Minstermen from newly-promoted League One outfit Bury, netting once in 16 outings for Watson’s team.

He was subsequently offered a permanent deal by the National League North outfit, but Watson admitted that the chances of him wearing City colours next term are diminishing.

“The contract was offered to Scott at the end of the season and we’d also been talking about it two or three weeks before then, so I’m getting to the point where I’d be surprised if it happened now,” the City chief declared. “Time also runs out and you have to move forward.”

Watson added that out-of-contract midfielder Simon Heslop has accepted an invitation to return to the club for pre-season training, having never featured under the former Gateshead boss following his January appointment due to mid-campaign knee surgery.

The City boss also suggested that he is probably now targeting five new additions but has no intention of rushing into completing all of his recruitment plans and running the risk of missing out on potential transfer-market opportunities later in the summer.

“I’ve spoken to three or four players this week who we’d like to bring in and they will probably make their decisions over the weekend,” Watson revealed. “They’ve also got options higher up, so I’m trying to sell the club, our ambitions and the new stadium.

“Equally, I think we’d be foolish to rush into putting a full squad together when you don’t fully know who might become available. I see on Sky Sports every day that players are leaving clubs due to mutual consent and, whilst I know people can get impatient for signings, I don’t think it’s a good idea to get all your business done by the end of May.

“That doesn’t make sense for me. We’ve got a core of 15 players signed on and will, maybe, look to add another five. Players will also come in on trial and we’ve still got Simon Heslop, who is coming back from injury and has agreed to join us in pre-season, so we’ll be seeing where he’s at in games, along with people like Josh Watson, Nathan Dyer, Reiss Harrison and Tom Allan, because it’s a good chance for me to assess them and everybody else in that situation.

“There might be some that decide to move on as the season begins as well if they’re not figuring, which can change things.”

Former City on-loan winger Alex Bray, meanwhile, has joined National League North rivals Hereford following his release from Rotherham.