STUART McCall senses that football’s market place is slowly picking up after the months of lockdown limbo.

The City boss is still unable to make any moves until there is confirmation on when League Two will start next season – and whether they will have to work within a salary cap.

Details of how potential budget limits might work have recently been sent out to clubs for consideration, although nothing has been decided at this stage over whether they will be introduced. There is understood to be resistance within the game to the plans.

McCall remains cautious about the overall picture but believes there are signs that business is gradually beginning to inch its back to normal.

He said: “Things seem to be rolling a little bit more in the last week.

“There have certainly been a lot more discussions and I’ve had a lot more agents coming on.

“I’ve spoken to three or four players and agents but there’s been not one mention of pennies or money. It is still vague.

“But again, we’re hopeful as more information comes out and there are more meetings.

“I’m probably spending over an hour a day now looking through people that have been sent to us.

“I’ve got a big dossier now from all the agents who have sent details of certain players – young, old, experienced, foreign, the lot.

“You’ve just got to be ready and then hopefully we’ve got things at this club that can sell it to people if they’ve got three or four after them."

Mansfield signed striker Jordan Bowery from MK Dons this week but there has been very little recruitment in League Two so far with many clubs, City included, still furloughing staff and players.

McCall added: “We know it’s a financial thing at our level and every club is struggling.

“Without going over old ground, we’d have to unfurlough (players) and we’re still not getting any money in. A couple in our division are looking to do things now but not many at all.

“We know we’ve got 14 registered players but there are others out there that I think we can bring in.

“A couple of Premier League clubs have come on to me about players they’d like to get out on loan next season and whether we might be interested.

“It’s a balancing act. You’ve got to weigh up whether it would be right.”

City let 11 players go when their season was ended but are talking to keeper Richard O’Donnell about a possible new deal. McCall has also hinted they may make an offer to Dylan Mottley-Henry to come back.

The wait goes on for a definite return date from the EFL but he is cautiously optimistic that progress is being made.

“Everything seems to be moving at a decent pace. If, and it’s a big if, we can get that start date then it will make a massive difference.

“If things keep progressing as they are, there’s a hope that we could be back in training early August.

“That would be fantastic for everyone and we could possibly look at a mid-September start. But everything has to keep going how it is.

"It's a case that you keep being sensible in general life. As much as things are starting to ease off, you only need a silly week or fortnight to put us back again."