City have made their first moves to try and keep hold of some of the club’s out-of-contract contingent.

It is understood that offers have been made so far to at least four or five of the players whose current deals are due to expire at the end of next month.

Player of the year Stephen Darby, Rory McArdle and James Meredith are among those whose future at Valley Parade is undecided. Gary Jones and Garry Thompson have already been released.

Julian Rhodes revealed in the T&A that Phil Parkinson’s budget for next season is £500,000 down on last year. There will also be more of a focus on attack-minded players.

Director of operations David Baldwin said: “There are a lot of talks going on. We are still very much in a live dialogue with a number in the current squad – as well as looking at potential new players from outside.

“There are some key positions that need to be looked at in all areas, especially in the attacking and attacking midfield positions. There are still player requirements and we are very much looking.”

The offers on the table to the City players coming out of contract are just seen as the opening round of discussions. They are not likely to be “take it or leave it” figures and there is room for further talks.

City must supply the Football League with their retained list by close of play today. The deadline is the third Saturday in May or four days after a club’s final game.

Matty Dolan has officially become a City player after his three-month loan ran out last weekend.

They tried to get the midfielder signed permanently in January but could not agree a deal with Middlesbrough before the transfer deadline.

Instead, Dolan joined on loan until the end of the season with the proviso that he would get a full contract in the summer.

Dolan, who made ten appearances, has signed for one year with the option of a further season in the club’s favour.

The 21-year-old is tipped to be a key player for next term but has been told to work on improving his fitness.