FREE agent Michael Coulson is on York City manager Gary Mills’ wanted list.

Winger Coulson, who turned down a new deal at Blue Square Bet Premier Grimsby Town at the end of last season, is seen as the ideal man to add competition for striking places at Bootham Crescent during the club’s League Two campaign.

But Mills added that he only envisages recruiting four new players this summer should those out-of-contract players he would like to retain from last season’s squad agree new terms.

He also revealed that strengthening the team’s attacking and midfield options will be his priority during the close season.

Coulson was a child prodigy at home-town Scarborough where he broke into the then Conference club’s first team at the age of 16.

He went on to play for Barnsley in the Championship but a cruciate knee ligament injury halted his progress at Oakwell and loan spells at Northwich, Chester and Grimsby followed before he made a permanent switch to Blundell Park in the summer of 2010.

Netting 21 times in 101 league outings for the Mariners, he also won England ‘C’ honours but is now looking for a new challenge.

Outlining his admiration for Coulson, City boss Mills said: “Michael Coulson is somebody I rate. I think he’s a good player and he’s one that I am interested in.

“I don’t know whether he will be coming here or not though and we will have to wait and see.”

On the potential number of new faces for the 2012/13 campaign, Mills added: “That might be dictated by what comes out of my talks with last season’s players and maybe then I will need more players than I’d anticipated but we don’t need wholesale changes. If I can keep the players I want, I think we are looking at four players.

“We are a good side with a strong bond and a great team spirit. The fans have seen that and I would be stupid to dismantle things.

“There will always be changes. Some signings don’t work out and some might need to move on to resurrect their careers.

“Then, I’ve got to look at the right replacements to make us stronger. We’ve got to strengthen the midfield because Scott Kerr might be out until October.

“I also want to increase our striking options. It’s a vital area and, as superbly as Matty Blair, Jason Walker and Ash Chambers did last season, there’s got to be a couple more to push them or get picked ahead of them.”

Having signalled his intention to hold on to out-of-contract left-back James Meredith, Mills has also expressed a desire to keep Chambers, Adriano Moké and Dan Parslow.

But he is yet to tell fellow free agents Jon Challinor, Chris Doig, Jamal Fyfield, Danny Pilkington, Eugen Bopp, Matthew Blinkhorn and Scott Brown whether they have futures at the club.

Mills said: “I’ve had brief chats with Ash Chambers, Dan Parslow and Adriano Moké to say I would like them to come into the League with me next season. That doesn’t mean that’s going to happen and everything will be agreed but, as manager, I would like to give them that opportunity.

“Adriano has so much ability. He didn’t play an abundance of games but the last nine months will have opened his eyes.

“He’s seen what it’s all about now and grew up and became a man around Christmas time when we saw a big improvement. There’s a lot more to come from him and I think he can excite in the next League.

“Ash Chambers grew in confidence during the season as well. Self-belief had always been a problem with him but he ended up having a fantastic season.

“Then there’s the old warhorse Dan Parslow. He’s the type of player every manager wants in their squad.

“He can play here, there and everywhere and was outstanding during the last dozen games. He deserves to play in the League, will never let me down and I can trust him 100 per cent.”

Youth-team goalkeeper Ben White has been released, however, meaning Tom Platt is the only player from last year’s second-year scholars to agree professional terms.

“I have high hopes for him,” Mills said about Platt, who ended last season on loan at Harrogate Town. “He’s done superbly well. I think he’s got a bright future.”

City, meanwhile, will travel to Gateshead on Tuesday, July 24 for a pre-season friendly.

Provisional home games to Hartlepool on August 11 and Middlesbrough for David McGurk’s testimonial, either on August 3 or 4, are to be confirmed.

Mills also intends to return to last summer’s Rutland training base for a small break with possible fixtures at Grantham on July 28 and Peterborough on July 31.

The Football League, meanwhile, have confirmed that teams will be permitted to name seven substitutes next season.