The closing weeks of April brought confirmation that seven of United’s current squad had activated contract clauses which secured their services for a further season – Lewis Alessandra, Jack Armer, Taylor Charters, Josh Dixon, Callum Guy, Aaron Hayden and Joe Riley.
And we can confirm that striker Gime Toure has been added to that list, with his clause triggered by the club ahead of the weekend home game against Walsall.
Manager Chris Beech said: “It’s a good situation for us to be in. I think it’s just excellent from the players and excellent from where we were. David Holdsworth was able to present to the players contracts they were then happy to sign last summer and what we’ve done is develop into regular, competitive, energised footballers.
“I’m happy that we’ve activated the options because it helps us to build for next season. There are other teams who will start again in the summer, because they have the opportunities and funds to do that, and we have to make sure we give our best to represent ourselves against them.
“I wouldn’t imagine transfer fees will be prominent in lower league football in the coming weeks because of the year we’ve had. The players out of contract know what they get from me and how we want to try to improve on what we’ve done.
“We want to continue what we’ve done at home, improve our away record and be adaptable a little bit more in terms of shape. We’ll have to develop players and make sure they learn because we don’t have the capabilities of buying answers.
“We have to try to find them and bring them on. I’m hopeful of the players being better for a rest, and better for the experiences they’ve been through when they reflect during that period of rest. I want them to come back with a real desire to represent us all and to go again to try to achieve something.
“My main aim will be to do what we can to excite everybody and to stretch ourselves, as we have done, so that we’re there and fighting with a chance of competing with the real big boys.”
On the eight who have had contracts activated, he explained: “We consider these players as key for the coming season in one way or another, and I’m delighted to be able to keep the core group together as we look to kick on.
“Callum joined us from Blackpool and this is his first full season of being the mainstay of a team’s midfield. He’s done ever so well for us and I’m surprised he didn’t make the league’s team of the season given the number of assists and interceptions he’s been making with such consistency.
“He’s a box-to-box midfielder by definition, but this season he’s ended up playing slightly deeper and he has really made that slot his own.”
“Aaron is another who has progressed this season,” he said. “It’s also his first full season and as a professional footballer he’s making that transition into week-in week-out league football.
“It’s the consistency which will improve his game for the longer-term and that comes from experience and learning on and off the pitch, and from gaining knowledge from how he reacts and responds to various in-game situations.
“I believe Aaron has all the attributes to exceed even our expectations.”
“Gime had a really good start to the season and then probably, even by his own admission, tapered off a little,” he added. “On his day he can be unplayable, and it’s important to remember that this is his first season in league football.
“It’s a new club and new area for him and we’re in a situation where he’s not had an opportunity to play in front of our fans. Gime is the type of player that thrives off fan engagement - could you imagine the support he’d get from the paddock as he ghosts past players and zones in on goal?
“I’d definitely rather have him with us than against us and we’ll be looking for him to deliver some game-changing performances.”
“Joe came to us with a point to prove as he hadn’t had the rub of the green injury wise, and he’s another that’s found his feet,” he told us. “When we recruited Joe I knew he had the technical ability and pedigree, I also knew he could play at right back, but my intention was to try and play him higher up the pitch.
“I think we’ve been successful with that transition, but is there’s more to come from Joe? Absolutely.”
“Jack came to us from Preston and I said when we signed him that I feel he’s one of the young players that could consider himself hard done by in being allowed to leave,” he commented. “He could become one that Preston might wish they’d kept.
“He’s had a tremendous first season with us, breaking through the way he has. He’s played right back, left back, and he never complains. He always gives it everything and his attitude is spot on.
“He has all the attributes to go further and he’s another I'm looking forward to see progressing next year.”
“Lewi Alessandra is another that’s been key for us,” he said. “He’s delivered some excellent performances this season and he was a key man for us leading the line as we reached the top of the table in December.
“He has the experience and know-how to influence some of the younger players around him and I’m delighted he’s with us again.”
“Finally Josh and Taylor are two talented young players who have progressed from the youth system,” he concluded. “We have had opportunity this season to bring similar style players in from Premier League sides on-loan, but I’ve always been of the opinion that I’d rather work with Taylor and Josh.
“As we step into the new season both will need to push on and play even greater roles in driving us forward, and I’m both enthusiastic and excited to see what our local lads can do.”
And on Dean Furman and Cedwyn Scott moving on, he commented: "Dean is a great lad and probably up there with one of the best professionals I’ve worked with.
"You’d expect that from someone of his stature. He's captained his national team and played on that international stage, and fortunately for us those traits have influenced some of younger players throughout this season, and that’s been a big plus.
"By his own admission Dean hasn’t played as much football as he’d have liked this season. Those opportunities have been limited in the main by the tremendous run we went on in the first half of the season, and the form that Callum showed playing in the slot that we brought Dean in to fill.
"He goes with my best wishes and I’ve no doubts that whatever he chooses to do next will be a success, because he has that attitude and professionalism about him.
"Cedwyn is another great lad who has worked extremely hard with us. It is open-ended with him.
"There is an invitation for him to join us for pre-season training, but we'll wait and see what happens with that and with what he wants to do as we step up for next season."