JOINT-MANAGER Mark Trueman has strongly defended the decision to reinstate Richard O’Donnell as City’s captain.

Many felt Sam Hornby was unlucky to be dropped after the Carlisle game, while a lot of fans firmly believe Paudie O’Connor should have kept his place as skipper regardless.

But at this week’s fans’ forum, Trueman insisted: “When Rich is fit, he’s the captain. What people don’t see is how good a character and influence he is on others, like Sam, off the pitch.

“If he’s out of the squad, we have to put someone else in and we feel Paudie is a big influence.

“But Rich is a voice in the changing room, and a big character. He’s club captain for a reason, and that’s why we brought him back.

“I mentioned it after the Oldham game, that both keepers have different strengths, and we just felt it was time for Rich to come in and show his experience and communication.”

On the Callum Cooke conundrum, which has seen City struggle to replace the midfielder since his injury, Sellars said: “Callum was showing his strengths in that 10 role, even just little things like maintaining possession.

“He was pivotal to the side because he was assisting and scoring goals and we wanted to keep him in there.

“We need the right person to go in there now and we’re still trying to find the solution.”

Cooke’s deal runs until 2022, but several first-teamers are out of contract this summer, and there are obvious uncertainties over the budget due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sellars said: “We must communicate constantly and see what’s right for the club and players.

“In the next few months, we will get much deeper on who stays next season.

“Mark and I are still learning about the players too.”

Two players City fans have learnt very little about are January signings Matty Foulds and Rumarn Burrell.

Trueman admitted: “When we signed them, it was the start of the window and we had injuries.

“The back four, and Finn Cousin-Dawson, have been performing, so it’s been tough for Matty to break in.”

Sellars added: “With Rumarn, there’s real competition for places up top and lot of experience at this level.

“Nine is his best position and I’m not sure Rumarn would suit the way we play, with wingers.”

There is another issue for the pair, with Trueman saying: “People came in at different fitness levels and neither of them were at the level required to start with, they needed to build up to get used to League Two.

“We’ve given them playing time with the U23s and reserves and it’s all about performances for us, so they have to keep working hard and show they’re ready to take their chance.”

We may see more of Bryce Hosannah and Zeli Ismail too, even if they don’t play again this season.

Trueman said: “The relationship we have with Leeds is good and we want the best loans this summer.

“If Bryce becomes available again, we’ll see, but it’s out of our hands.

“As for Zeli, he was doing well in rehab but we found another problem with his hamstring.

“We know his strengths, and he’s a different type of player to others. We’ll have a discussion closer to the end of season (about a potential new contract) when we see his progress.”