Contract negotiations between the club and Anthony Howell have broken down, but Paul Cox says he is 'close' to making new signings, the manager confirmed today.
Howell looks to become the second player to turn down a contract offer at One Call Stadium in as many days, after it was revealed today that winger Lindon Meikle had signed for York City.
"Talks have stalled and I've told his [Anthony Howell's] representative that we're moving on. We can't afford the package which Anthony Howell wants, it's as simple as that," said Cox, speaking to mansfieldtown.net this afternoon.
"I'd never close the door on anyone permanently but with what his agent was asking for with bits and bobs, it was too far off what we can pay. I won't close the door on any player but at the minute it looks like it's over [Howell's re-signing].
"Anthony has done brilliantly for us over the three years he's been here and I get along with him really well personally. But like I say, we can only pay what we can pay and if Anthony is out of that structure then we have to move on."
On Meikle's move to Bootham Crescent, Cox said: "We had been in negotiations with Lindon's agent for a while now and talks had broken down. He was out of contract and free to talk to who he wanted. I've said in the past that we would lose some good players to other clubs but it's part and parcel of this game. He's been a good servant to Mansfield and at my previous club. I really do wish him all the best in his new role at York City."
Meanwhile, the manager revealed that there are 'a couple' of trialists training with the squad at present, with more expecting to join the group later this week.
"A lot of people are asking me why we aren't making a number of signings. We have 16 [players] registered with the club and will be running with a squad of 22 maximum, so there won't be a whole load of new players coming in. There may be four players; five to six at a push coming in. We have a lot of irons in fires with a lot of clubs, representatives and players, so I won't be pulled into making quick decisions. I believe in being patient and trying to get in the people who we realistically want.
"We're close [to making signings]. I'm talking to clubs about potential loan signings and speaking to representatives. We're positive that something will be done soon."
After the first two days of pre-season training, the manager added that he was pleased with his players' fitness levels .
"The players have returned in excellent shape. In terms of their fitness testing, we've made comparables
with a lot of top elite sportsman. They've come back in really good shape and they've worked extremely hard. They've been a credit to themselves with the way they've kept in shape over the summer and with their work in the first two days."