JOHN Hendrie today voiced his sympathy for City boss Stuart McCall and admitted: “This is a very tough time to be a manager.”

McCall has been forced to sit on his hands until the EFL offer clubs some clue of when next season is likely to begin.

His recruitment plans remain on hold for now – as does the budget with talk of the possible introduction of a salary cap for the lower divisions.

It is immensely frustrating for McCall, who is keen to put his personal stamp on the team he inherited for a third time just six weeks before the season was suddenly halted.

City legend Hendrie insists it is the same uncertain scenario for every team in League Two.

He said: “It’s difficult because you don’t know when the season is going to start.

“For the Premier League clubs, money is no object. But it’s very different as you go down the leagues and you’ve got nothing coming in now.

“The whole situation is about finances now and trying to balance your books accordingly.

“Why sign a player now if the season is not going to start until October? Otherwise you are paying them four months for nothing.

“But everyone is in the same boat. The most important thing is the football club – and the football club staying alive. There will be a few sailing close to the wind.

“You saw what happened with Bury last summer and they were a League One club.

“It should never happen but you’ve got to be more and more prudent under the scenario we’ve had for the past few months.”

McCall has 14 players currently under contract but big holes in certain areas of the team. He has been monitoring targets but cannot take City’s interest any further until they get more answers about what happens next.

Former Bantams loan defender Luke Hendrie, John’s son, scored Grimsby’s equaliser in McCall’s first game back at the club in February. Ian Holloway’s Mariners are experiencing the same financial issues.

Hendrie added: “They had 11 players out of contract and couldn’t offer them anything because of the current position.

“The other ones who are still there have got to take a 25 per cent pay cut.

“It’s very tough because you’re wondering about when the season’s going to start and how big the budget will be.

“These are unprecedented times. Nobody is to blame for what is happening.

“It’s just a matter of being up front about it and players would be foolish not to think otherwise.

“Stuart has got a couple of big earners off the wage bill which will help to balance the books. But he’s nowhere nearer knowing when he can sign someone.

“You need to keep in touch, that’s the key. You try to be in regular contact with your main targets and make them feel wanted.

“Players appreciate it if people are up front. They just want honesty.

“You don’t want anyone filling your head full of rubbish and saying this and that.

“But it’s false economy going out to sign somebody now if you haven’t got the money for it.

“Wait a couple of months saving that money and it can go towards your budget when you might be able to entice a player on better terms.”