CITY are growing more confident that they will not have to sell a player next month to balance the books.

The club have always stressed that losing a first-teamer would be the last resort to make up the £1m target they set themselves from cup income and transfers.

City estimate they have recouped around £525,000 of that so far and feel they are in a position now where any deals would only be done through choice and not necessity.

James Hanson, currently down the pecking order behind the in-form Jon Stead, has always been seen as the player most likely to be sacrificed. But there has been no contact from any club since the last transfer window.

FA Cup opponents Millwall were keeping tabs on the striker in the summer but rumours of continued interest from Huddersfield appear to be wide of the mark.

The Aaron Mclean situation will have an impact. He is due back at Valley Parade from Peterborough at the end of next month when his ten-week loan spell is up.

City’s top earner has yet to score in his second spell with the Posh and missed a penalty in their FA Cup loss at Colchester last weekend.

City missed out on a third-round money-spinner when they were drawn at the Den. But they are still monitoring the Tom Cleverley situation at Aston Villa and have further add-ons with Andre Wisdom and Nahki Wells, who earns his former employers cash for scoring.

Joint-chairman Julian Rhodes said: “Primarily we look at cup runs and add-ons and there are things still bubbling.

“After that we look at the youth development and whether there are any young lads that bigger clubs are prepared to make offers on.

“Failing that, we would look to the first-team players – but I would like to think that’s not going to be necessary.

“I believe there are other things out there which we can address this year without looking to sell a first-team player.

“If anything, we want to be able to add if possible. There are contracts up in January as well as Jon Stead’s loan.

“Obviously Millwall wasn’t the cup draw we wanted. Everybody is obviously looking for Man United, Arsenal or Chelsea. You get one of those away from home and you’re all done and dusted in hitting the target straight away.

“But we are still in there. It’s a winnable game and there is the chance of going through to the next round and getting that big tie.”