NEAL ARDLEY will hold off on any contract talks until York City are mathematically safe in the Vanarama National League.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Maidenhead United meant that the gap between York and the National League relegation zone narrowed to just one point, with City now level for the least amount of wins in league so far this season, joint with bottom-club Oxford City.

With that in mind, Ardley won’t consider extending the contracts of any players whose deals expire in July, and remains wary that it could upset other squad members if certain players are awarded new contracts.

“No, the club’s stance on that at the moment is that we need to get safe,” Ardley told the Press.

“If you start thinking about offering certain players contracts, it can upset the apple cart.

“Players should understand that the club needs to get safe, players need to improve and show what they can do.

“They need to show that they can be part of the future and let the club make those decisions as the season draws to an end, but first and foremost we need to make sure we’re in the right league.”

With Finlay Barnes’ recent return to the first-team squad from his loan spell with Scarborough Athletic, Ardley also provided an update on the progress of defender Sam Sanders, who currently plays his football with Truro City in the Vanarama National League South.

However, Ardley admitted that any decision on Sanders’ future would be held off until pre-season of the 2024/25 season, with the City boss keen to see whether the young defender can make the step up to the National League.

Ardley also spoke on Barnes’ involvement in the first-team since his return, hinting that the young midfielder may be rewarded with a first start for the club with City’s fixture list becoming heavier in the coming weeks.

“We’ve had feedback, we get footage and reports back from their manager who has said he’s done well at that level.

“It’s very difficult, it was the same with Fin where you send them down to the National League South or National League North and when they come back up it’s that next level.

“A lot of the teams that get promoted out of those leagues are down near the bottom right now, so it shows the big step up.

“The best time for us to see players like that is in the Summer, when they are back in and amongst the group.

“We’re going to have a run of games coming up soon of Saturday to Tuesday for a few weeks, so you’ve got to look at systems you might play in certain games and where Fin would fit into that.

“Whether if he’s in the number ten or playing off of the right to come onto his left foot, whatever it needs to be, it’s the same with them all.

“We’ve got to look at the load on all of the players and who we can put in in certain games, depending on the opposition.

“There’s right times to give someone their debut, he’s got to do his part which is to train exceptionally well every day.

“He’s got to earn his place in the team, but I’m sure that in the coming weeks that opportunity might arise.”