James Beattie says decisions have been made about the futures of players who are out of contract this summer as the season draws to a close.

There are two matches left and Stanley are close to mathematical safety in League Two and ahead of Saturday’s trip to Oxford United the manager has had to make some tough decisions.

“We’ve already sat down and decided who is going to be offered contracts for next year,” he explained. “I think the club just wanted to make sure that we were safe because you can’t offer contracts until then because that would be naïve.

“We did it for the young lads a couple of weeks ago. I know from talking to managers that I’ve had that it’s the hardest thing to do. I had a little taste of it this pre-season when players came in on trial and we had to tell them that they weren’t exactly what we were looking for.”

The short term aim is to take maximum points from the remaining games but Beattie has started discussions with Chairman Peter Marsden about plans for the new campaign.

“I appreciate everything that the Chairman has done this season,” he said. “I believe he nearly carries the club financially on his own back and we owe him a lot. From the word go he was very helpful, with the pre-season trip which is something the club had never done before.”

Lee Molyneux’s loan from Crewe Alexandra expires after the trip to the Kassam Stadium, meaning the winger could make his last appearance on Saturday if he recovers from injury in time.

Lee Molyneux's loan expires this weekend

Lee Molyneux’s loan expires this weekend

He’s a player the manager hopes that he can tempt back to the Store First Stadium in the future.

“It would be something that potentially we’re interested in,” he revealed. “I’ll have to speak to the Chairman about the numbers but I know that Lee likes it here, he likes working with me, Stevo and the lads and he’s got a great affinity with the fans.

“That counts for a lot. With young players now it seems to be about how much you can get and how quickly but as you get older it’s about happiness.

“He’s one of the players who made a fantastic impact when he came in. His goals at home against Chesterfield and the like have gained us very valuable points.

“We’re assessing him today. He’s been working with (physio) Paul Morgan for the last few days. We’ll do what’s best for Lee.  We have to look after him for Crewe’s interests as well.”