ARBROATH manager Paul Sheerin has admitted he will have a massive rebuilding job on his hands after eight players were not offered new deals to stay at the club.
On Monday night, goalkeeper Michael White, along with defenders Kevin Brown, Craig Wedderburn, Chris Innes, Beau Busch and Kieran McAnespie were told they would have to find new employers.
Joining them leaving Gayfield are midfielder Keith Gibson and front man Collin Samuel.
The rest of Mr Sheerin’s squad have been offered new contracts with only Stuart Malcolm and Lee Sibanda signing on so far.
And the boss told HeraldSport he knows he is taking a big gamble by releasing so many players.
He said: “We are taking a gamble because if I am brutally honest I don’t have any guarantees that I have others ready to come in and join the club.
“It is going to be a big rebuilding job as we had a great bunch here but we have conceded a lot of goals this season so we have to make changes.
“And hopefully we can manage to bring a good new squad together.
“The boys have been a very close knit group and have worked well together over two seasons.
“We have had players like McAnespie and Gibby who have been excellent and have been great professionals so it is always tough.”
The boss also added deals were offered to Steven Doris on Tuesday night and that Jordan Elfverson has pre-season to prove his fitness.
Darren Hill and Mark Baxter are also mulling over new contracts.
The boss was also due to speak to Gavin Swankie on Wednesday night along with Josh Falkingham, who he admitted the Maroons may struggle to keep.
Mr Sheerin said he would also carry on playing and hopes a good pre-season can put his knee troubles behind him.
Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Dumbarton saw the Lichties crash out of the play-offs in the semi-final after a 2-1 defeat on aggregate.
And even though they still finished a respectable second in Division Two, Mr Sheerin still believes there needs to be improvement if they are to go one better next year.
He explained: “I wouldn’t say this season has been successful as we are still in Division Two but it has definitely been promising.
“We were good for the first three quarters of the season, then in the last quarter we fell short for whatever reason.
“We have to at least aim for the play-offs next season now we have established ourselves and exceeded expectations.
“It will be a much tougher league with two teams coming out of the First Division in Queen of the South and Ayr United then with Alloa coming up and possibly another from the Third Division.
“We need to aim for giving ourselves another shot at promotion.”
The players will now enjoy around a month off before reporting back to pre-season training on June 20 before the season begins on July 28.
And Mr Sheerin added: “Until then I will be tying up contracts and pretty much just trying to get players in.
“We still have a big job to do.”