ALAN KNILL has released seven players, including long-serving winger Danny Stevens and right-back Joe Oastler, in his first Torquay United retained list.
But the new Gulls boss wants to keep eight other ‘free agents’, among them centre-backs Brian Saah and Aaron Downes, utility forward Ryan Jarvis and ex-loan striker Elliot Benyon.
Knill also stressed that he would like to keep out-of-contract centre-forward Rene Howe.
“Rene has had an offer on the table for some time, I’ve spoken to him and I’d love him to stay,” said Knill.
“But he did well enough last year to give him opportunities to go elsewhere, so it’s in his hands now.”
Knill is also keen to keep the Saah-Downes duo, saying: “You have to build on a base, they are both very good central defenders and we wouldn’t want to lose them.
“I have spoken to both of them, and hopefully they will stay.”
Being released are Oastler and Danny Leadbitter, both right-backs, wingers Lloyd Macklin, Saul Halpin, Karl Baker and Stevens and midfielder Craig Easton.
Stevens, 26, leaves after six years, 215 appearances and 28 goals for the club.
Knill will not be pursuing defender Angus MacDonald, who finished last season on loan from Reading.
But he does plan to approach former Gulls striker Benyon, who finished the last campaign with four goals on loan at United.
He has just been released by Southend United.
The other seven players who either have or will receive offers for next season are Downes, Saah, Jarvis, goalkeeper Martin Rice, left-back Tom Cruise, striker Ashley Yeoman and Howe.
Already under contract are goalkeeper Michael Poke, defenders Kevin Nicholson and Kirtys McKenzie, midfielders Lee Mansell, Damon Lathrope and Nathan Craig and forwards Billy Bodin and Niall Thompson, plus striker Danny Sullivan and centre-back Jake Hutchings, both ex-scholars about to start their first years as professionals.