Neil Aspin is set to embark on a summer shake-up at The Shay and is already in talks with possible new signings.
The Town boss says the club’s poor form towards the end of the season, which saw them win only once in 15 games, has increased the need for reinforcements.
Two-thirds of the squad are out-of-contact in the summer, but Aspin has warned that even those contracted for next season may not survive the cull.
“There are more players needed than I thought a month ago,” Aspin said.
“We need to change a lot of personnel because if you’ve got players who have to play above themselves to compete, you can only do that for so long.
“When you find you’re not getting the response ten you need to make some changes.
“The last month has been disappointing and I haven’t enjoyed what I’ve seen.
“There will be some players who are disappointed. They might find they were expecting to get offered something but don’t.
“Even if a player is contracted for next season is doesn’t mean their place isn’t in jeopardy.
“There’ll be players who are talking to clubs now.
“If a player doesn’t want to stay as far as I’m concerned he can leave and we’ll get somebody else in.”
Aspin revealed negotiations are already underway with transfer targets.
“You have to be (in negotiations now). There are players out there I’d like.
“You have players on your list who you need to be trying to get early doors and there are a few I’d like to get in as early as possible,” he said.
Aspin confirmed striker Richard Peniket is set to have an operation on his anterior cruciate ligament injury later this month but will then be out for around eight months.
The Town boss admitted there were successes and failures among his new signings last season.
“Some have done OK, some have been disappointing,” he reflected.
“But they’ve all had a chance, which is the main thing.
“There’s nobody who can say they haven’t had a chance.
“We have to keep looking but it’s not an exact science and people you expect to do better haven’t and some we probably took chance on have done better than we thought over the last couple of years.”
Town are targeting goals in their summer transfer drive, but Aspin admits value for money has to be a consideration.
“Ideally you want to get a player who’s hungry, who wants to improve and better himself,” he said.
“A young, hungry player is the type we need to find because it’s not just their desire but their cost and wages are a lot cheaper.
“We are looking and we’ve been looking all season but it is getting harder to get them because every time we have interest in a player, there are other teams who become interested as well.
“We’re looking at all areas but we need goals. We’re struggling to score but everybody in the country is looking for goalscorers.
“We need goalscorers from wide areas as well.
“We need to change things in midfield and we need to keep looking to strengthen at the back when Marc Roberts leaves.”
Aspin would like to keep Roberts and Lois Maynard but admits both may be difficult to hang onto.
The Shay boss praised Roberts’ contribution, especially in the face of moves to Football League sides falling through earlier in the season.
“Marc’s attitude has been first-class,” Aspin said. “He had the disappointment at the start of the season seeing a move to Barnsley fall through, which is on his doorstep.
“But he kept playing and then Birmingham were in for him, but that didn’t happen.
“He’s done really well. I can’t speak too highly of him because that is difficult.
“Marc has never earned any money out of football, he doesn’t earn a lot of money at the club and he’s turned down a much better contract because he wants to try and test himself higher.
“My only hope is he gets to a club that really benefits him and that he really kicks on.
“I want him to go to the best club he can and I really hope he does well.”
Aspin is more optimistic about keeping hold of Maynard.
“Lois has done really well for me considering the level he came from,” he said.
“He’s scored a lot of goals this season.
“We’re going to try and keep him if we can.
“Lois hasn’t attracted the interest Marc has and we have to do our best to keep him.
“I’ll be disappointed if he goes but if the club does it’s best and he still leaves then there’s nothing more we can do.”
Aspin is expecting to work with a similar budget to this season, but says the fact that Town don’t pay players during the summer makes it harder to attract new signings.
“With the gates we’ve had there’s no way the budget could be increased so it’ll be similar,” he said.
“I’ll work within whatever budget I get set.
“There’s a huge disparity in that the big teams with massive budgets are way, way above.
“I know we have a problem because a lot of the clubs pay for 52 weeks and we only pay for 38, so far a start you’re 14 weeks short.
“That’s a difficult stumbling block.
“I don’t know all the other budgets but if there’s 24 teams in the league we’re going to be in the bottom half for our budget.”
The Town boss will take the whole season into consideration when deciding on players’ futures, and expects to speak with his squad over the next couple of weeks.
He added: “You can start the season really well and finish it badly or you can start the season badly and finish it well.
“And either way you’ve got the same players all the way through.
“So it would be wrong just to look at recent games. You wouldn’t judge someone on the last few games.
“You can leave an impression in your head but those decisions will be taken over the season.
“The other side of the coin is you can get rid of players but you need players to replace them.
“If you’ve got the same budget they’ve got to come in on similar wages so it’s not straightforward.
“You probably have decisions made in your mind but you have to wait a couple of weeks and see how things turn out.
“Players will be speaking to clubs now, that’s what happens.
“There’ll be some who will be getting moves lined up and there’ll be some who want to stay.
“But I’ll speak to all the players and we can decide where we go from there.”
Aspin admitted achieving promotion with a part-time club would be difficult.
He added: “Anything’s possible in football but it’s the same question as can a team other than Man United, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool win the Premier League?
“Of course they can but is it going to happen?
“For us it’s probably like could a Hull City win the Premier League?
“Yes they could but it’s not likely to happen.”