BURY Town are battling to keep hold of key men Sam Reed and Lee Smith, but the Blues will not wait too much longer before moving on to other targets.
Striker Reed and midfielder Smith are the only two senior players from last season’s squad who have not yet committed to next season’s cause.
The Free Press understands both players have been approached by other clubs, but offers remain on the table from the Ram Meadow outfit.
Manager Richard Wilkins said: “We can’t move on as a club to talk to players we would like to because we don’t know whether those positions are going to be filled.
“We want Sam Reed and Lee Smith at the club, but the ball is now in their court.”
The waters surrounding the future of vice-captain Reed – who netted 13 times in 50 matches last season – were muddied somewhat by the forward Tweeting: “I’m in the same bracket as Ronaldinho #freeagent.”
But the Blues insist they have offered the former Cambridge City and Newmarket Town man a new deal.
Wilkins said: “We want him to stay – we’ve made that crystal clear – but we can’t do any more.
“He’s away on holiday and has other people he’s been speaking to, but we’ve got to look after ourselves as well because I don’t want to get to the end of June or early July with only one striker (John Sands) at the club.
“The longer players don’t respond, it has a knock-on effect with who we are able to try and sign.”
Bury are still waiting to hear back from Smith, who they spoke to last week, with Wilkins again keen to stress he wanted the midfielder to stay at the club.
Although the Blues have lost Danny Cunningham to Lowestoft Town, Russell Short and Tom Bullard have turned down lucrative offers at another club to stay on at Ram Meadow, while Mark Coulson and young midfielder Evan Key have also signed deals.
Director of football Trevor Collins added: “We do everything within our means and offer them what we can afford and what we think is fair, but we only want those who want to stay with us because they are plenty of people who have indicated they would like to come to Bury.”
Meanwhile, Craig Nurse has confirmed he will be joining Needham Market next season, while youngsters Ryan Clark and Josh Curry will probably move on.
Back-up goalkeeper Stephen Fenner is set for university, meaning he will not be re-signing, while Jack Cawley, Richard Robbins and Daryl Coakley are unlikely to return.
Midfielder Luke Ingram – who spent time on loan at Hadleigh United and AFC Sudbury last season – and centre-half Dan Hitching will join up with the squad for pre-season training from July 3 to try and force their way into the picture.
Players signed so far: Tom Bullard, Billy Clark, Mark Coulson, Marcus Garnham, Connor Hall, Evan Key, John Kennedy, Sam Nunn, Lee Reed, John Sands, Russell Short.
Players left so far: Danny Cunningham, Roscoe Hipperson, Kieran Leabon, Craig Nurse.