CITY may have to wait until the season is well under way before the squad is finalised.
Phil Parkinson is tracking the loan market to fill in the gaps and wants to have the missing pieces in place for the Valley Parade opener against Coventry on August 9.
But his hands are tied by the parent clubs of the players he is chasing – and admits the waiting could go on to the end of the transfer window three weeks later if they do not want to release anyone earlier.
Parkinson revealed that he was in regular contact with one particular target but said: "It's very much a case of teams wanting to make sure their squads are right before they let anybody go.
"Sometimes, as a manager, you want to get everyone in for the first day of pre-season. But that's not realistic.
"Then you want everything done for the first match and sometimes that doesn't happen either. It might be the end of August when those long-term loans are done.
"I'm speaking to managers all the time to see who's available. But the majority of teams are away at the moment and the players we are looking at have gone off with their clubs.
"So in the meantime, we're waiting to see if one of the trialists can step up to the plate and earn a contract. Otherwise we'll use the loan market."
Free agents Nick Arnold and Angelo Balanta have been with City in Ireland as well as out-of-contract duo Jon McLaughlin and Raffaele De Vita, whose futures remain unclear.
Parkinson said: "We'll hopefully get people in for the start of the season and I'm talking to one a lot. But we've got to make sure we get the right ones to complement what we've got.
"The core of the squad is looking decent. The attitude of the players is very good and they've got a terrific work ethic.
"There are a lot of good signs and hopefully the ones we bring in towards the end of this pre-season will give us a lift as well.
"The key thing for now is to integrate the new players with our existing ones."