RYAN Sparks is confident City will continue to build on a “clinical” start to their summer transfer business.

Matty Platt became the fourth recruit so far for Mark Hughes after Harry Lewis, Jake Young and securing Jamie Walker on a permanent basis.

The City boss is currently away on holiday but online recruitment talks are on-going and more deals are understood to be in the pipeline.

Sparks said: “We’ve made a good start. It’s been a clinical start.

“Obviously there’s a lot of planning gone on and since Stephen Gent joined the club as head of recruitment, things have stepped up.

“We’ve got a handful of players signed that we will announce in due course in addition to the ones that we have retained and signed from elsewhere.

“We’re really pleased with where we are just now. The building blocks are there and the spine of the team is certainly coming together.”

Platt’s arrival has cast further doubt on the Valley Parade future of Paudie O’Connor. The City skipper, who has been linked with Sheffield Wednesday, is understood to have received counter offers from higher divisions.

Charles Vernam and Elliot Watt are also in demand and chief executive Sparks accepts City may lose out.

Speaking in a club interview about the out-of-contract players, he added: “Of the ones that haven’t been announced, a couple of them have agree terms in the last few days.

“A couple of them are yet to but we’re still hopeful they might. There is interest in some of those players from League One and the Championship.

“We won’t hold that against them. If that player chooses to follow that path, then that’s entirely up to them and of course they would leave with our best wishes and we thank them for their services.

“We’ve offered them contracts for a reason and I would say financially we’ll compete with any offer that’s been put in front of them.”

City had a top-five budget last season – despite their 14th-placed finish - and Sparks confirmed that it has been increased to give Hughes “everything that is going to be necessary” to build a promotion challenge.

“It is more than competitive,” said Sparks. “We intend to put a package together that can support our aims.

“We’re an ambitious football club, our season-ticket sales are extremely strong, everything is pointing in the right direction and as such we’re able to take a stance where we know we can deliver a strong first-team budget and not put the club under any financial duress in the process.

“It will be clear to see that we’ve not held back with any of the signings we’ve made so far. It’s a long window and there will be movement right to the very end.”