York City manager Gary Mills has hailed James Meredith’s decision to commit his future to Bootham Crescent for another season as a “major signing”.

Meredith has put pen to paper on a new one-year deal despite interest in his services from promoted League Two side Chesterfield, Crewe and Scottish top-flight outfit Kilmarnock.

Four more players, however, have been told they are surplus to requirements with Michael Gash and Andy McWilliams released, on-loan midfielder Will Hatfield returning to Leeds United and trialist Papa Agyemang allowed to leave.

It has emerged, meanwhile, that George Purcell is under contract next season, contrary to previous reports, but Mills will be holding talks over his future this month after he spent the second half of the season farmed out to Dartford and Eastbourne.

The City boss remains uncommitted on nine out-of-contract players – Neil Barrett, Chris Carruthers, Leon Constantine, Liam Darville, David Knight, Levi Mackin, David McDermott, Michael Rankine and Peter Till.

About Meredith, Mills said: “It’s a major signing for us. He had the opportunity to play in the Scottish Premier League for Kilmarnock but he turned that down to sign for York City which is fantastic.

“He improved throughout last season and proved his versatility by playing at left-back, on the wing, in midfield and at centre-half. Good left-footed players are also like gold dust.”

Meredith turned down two previous contract offers with the Minstermen before signing on for 2011/2 with Mills adding: “We came to an agreement and it’s very rare these days that players accept the first offer they are made so I’m delighted he’s decided to sign.”

About the nine players whose futures remain uncertain, Mills added: “I’ve not sat down and offered terms to anybody else. None of them have been told there will be nothing for them at York City next season because I want to take two weeks to sit with my assistant Darron (Gee) and make big decisions.

“There are a lot of players that will become available and a few that have been in my mind for a while. The ones I bring in will have to be better than we had here last season.

“The goalkeeping side is a bit different. I feel I have one of the best – if not the best – ’keepers in the Conference in Michael Ingham so I’ve got to decide whether I keep David Knight or get a younger ’keeper.”

Mills added he had heard nothing further on rumours linking last season’s 14-goal top scorer Rankine to several Football League clubs, saying: “I’m aware of the interest in him, as he is. I expect that will come to a head over the next fortnight.”

But Mills has not ruled out offering a contract to on-loan striker Ashley Chambers, who is out of contract at Leicester City at the end of next month.

The City boss said: “I spoke to Ash about the possibility of a new deal. We will look to sit down again and perhaps negotiate something in July.”

About the players who have already departed and Purcell’s situation, Mills added: “Will Hatfield has returned to Leeds, where he has a year left to run on his contract. We had an option on Michael Gash that has not been taken up so he is no longer a York City player.

“Andy McWilliams has also been released but George Purcell is still under contract for another year. We will talk again in another couple of weeks.”

Aside from Purcell, City now have ten professionals – Andre Boucaud, Jamal Fyfield, Michael Ingham, Scott Kerr, David McGurk, Meredith, Daniel Parslow, Jamie Reed, Chris Smith, Jonathan Smith – contracted.

Of Fyfield’s recruitment for another year, Mills added: “Although Jamal was not a regular last season, he was a player that, when given the opportunity, proved what he was all about.”

Mills confirmed pre-season home friendlies against Premier League outfits Bolton and Sunderland with dates to be announced shortly.

A home match with Hartlepool will also form part of the schedule while the club are trying to settle on a date with Leeds.

City will ease their way back with a match at Tadcaster Albion and Mills is hoping to pencil in a tour too, saying: “It’s something I’ve done at previous clubs and it helps team bonding.”