City’s out-of-contract players were today warned: You’d be mad not to take what’s on the table.

Lee Bullock, Matt Clarke and Zesh Rehman have all been made reduced offers to stay at Valley Parade. Peter Thorne will also be asked to play for less if he agrees to carry on.

Stuart McCall and number two Wayne Jacobs have already taken pay cuts to fit in with the smaller budget and the club expect the squad to follow suit.

City legend John Hendrie insists that the players have no choice but to accept because of the current economic climate.

Hendrie said: “There is not the same money knocking about football at the lower levels as before. Players have got to look outside their own little cocoons and see the real world.

“People are getting laid off everywhere; I’ve been involved in redundancies in my family and friends.

“There are always so many players without a job every year. You look at the number who fall by the wayside and drop into non-league.

“It’s dog eat dog in the lower divisions. Players have to take a reality check – or they will be out on their ear.

“It’s a brave man who knocks back a contract offer hoping for something better to come along.

“Even if you think something else is lined up, I can assure you from being a manager that he will have two or three irons in the fire for that position.

“So my advice is: if you get the offer of a contract, get your backside in there and sign it.”

T&A columnist Hendrie also believes that contracts have to be more incentive-based to save cash on those who are not featuring on the pitch.

He added: “You can only play 11 at a time or 14 at most. There might be a squad of 20 players but why pay them all the same rate when six of them aren’t used?

“When players are injured they get a basic wage, even in the summer. It should be the same for everyone, with incentives for appearances.”

Players have until the middle of next month to sign their contracts. Player of the year Luke O’Brien, Joe Colbeck, Jon McLaughlin and Leon Osborne are also thinking over new deals.

Hendrie added: “I don’t think the players have any option but to seriously consider what is on offer. There’s no point in being flippant about it.

“In the division Bradford City are in, the days of silly wages are gone because there are so many players out there who will come in and sign for a lot less money.”