Rotherham United’s out-of-contract players will know by Monday whether they still have a Millers future, boss Paul Warne has revealed.
The manager plans talks with them in the next 72 hours, and he could also tell some members of his squad who have deals for next season that they should consider moving on.
Relegated Rotherham play their final match of their Championship campaign on Sunday at home to Derby County and Warne has always said he would wait until then before revealing his thinking.
“I’ll meet with a few over the weekend and some on Monday,” he said. “If they want to sign, it should be done by next week.”
“Over the next few days, I’ll have chats with players - some in contract and some who are out - about their futures.”
Players whose deals are due to expire include goalkeeper Lee Camp, right-back Stephen Kelly, centre-half Richard Wood left-back Joe Mattock and midfielder Richie Smallwood, while the Millers have options to extend the contracts of strikers Danny Ward and Jonson Clarke-Harris by 12 months.
Smallwood has been in good form in the latter part of the season and could be retained, while Clarke-Harris did his prospects no harm with a man-of-the-match display at Preston last Saturday in his first start since cruciate surgery last summer.
The club will take up their option on Ward so they can still demand a substantial fee if they decide to sell their top scorer who was a wanted man in the January transfer window.
Central defender Kelvin Wilson’s one-year contract is also at end, but he hasn’t featured for the first team for months and is certain to leave, as is defensive midfielder Tom Thorpe who has spent the season on loan at League One Bolton Wanderers.
Warne has listened to backroom staff John Breckin and Matt Hamshaw before reaching his final verdicts, while new assistant manager Richie Barker has also been consulted.
“I’ve taken counsel from Breck and Hammy,” Warne said. “I’ve made my decisions, and Richie has been part of those.”
Barker was appointed yesterday after leaving Charlton Athletic, where he was Karl Robinson’s right-hand man, and has been reunited with Warne. The pair won promotion to the second tier as Millers players in 2001.
Warne had wanted Barker as his No 2 ever since taking the hot-seat permanently in early April after four months in caretaker charge.
“Yes, we are mates,” said Barker who will coach the first team with Hamshaw. “But certainly between 9am and 5pm he is the manager, and I am quite happy with that.
“In terms of our personality as players, we were very hard-working, made the best of what we had, never rested on our laurels. We probably didn’t play that many games together, but we had a lot in common.
“Coming back here is not something that a few months ago I envisaged myself doing, certainly not in the foreseeable future. It came out of the blue, but it was not a difficult decision.
“Charlton are a fantastic club, a massive club with the potential of going a long way. To leave Karl and Charlton, it was only coming back to Rotherham to work with somebody I have known for 17 years that would have taken me away. All the stars were lined up for me to come back.”
Midfielders Joe Newell and Anthony Forde are out of Sunday’s clash with injuries and Ward could also miss out with a hamsgtring pull, while centre-half Semi Ajayi’s hamstring issue is being monitored.