Some Rotherham United players could be handed a stay of execution as the Millers adapt to rule changes governing loan moves.
Next season - unlike in previous years - short-term loan signings won’t be allowed after the closure of the main transfer windows.
That will heighten the need for clubs to have more players permanently on their books by the end of August when the first window expires and at the close of January when the second one shuts.
Players who Rotherham would have allowed to leave under the old system may now be given the chance to stay at AESSEAL New York Stadium on a pay-as-you-play basis.
“One or two lads who we were going to release will probably be offered an incentive-based contract,” manager Neil Warnock confirmed.
“There are no short-term loans next year so you are going to have to have a squad of 23 or 24 players really.”
Rotherham are working on their retained list but have yet to make an official announcement.
Players who are out of contract this summer and may benefit from the new regulations include winger Jerome Thomas and centre-half Lloyd Doyley.
Thomas has already stated he would have no problem with an agreement which means his wages are governed by the number of appearances he makes.
Warnock, who guided the Millers to Championship survival after arriving on a short-term deal in February, has yet to decide his own future and is holding talks this week with chairman Tony Stewart.
But he has already made his feelings known about which players he feels the club should be looking to keep.
“I have put my recommendations to them, but at the end of the day it is going to be up to the chairman and the board,” he said.
“I have given my opinion, but things might change. You never know what is around the corner.”
Of the squad which put together an 11-match unbeaten run to seal safety last month, right-backs Stephen Kelly and Frazer Richardson, centre-halves Kirk Broadfoot and Richard Wood, striker-cum-midfielder Matt Derbyshire and centre-forward Leon Best see their present deals run out shortly.
Other players who are out of contract include goalkeepers Adam Collin, Paddy Kenny and Alex Cairns, defenders Lewis Buxton and Danny Collins, midfielders Emmanuel Ledesma and Paul Green and striker Luciano Becchio. It would be a major surprise if any of those were part of the Millers’ future thinking.
Meanwhile, a manager who would be interested in the Rotherham hot-seat if Warnock leaves won’t be moving to Charlton Athletic.
Former Millers player Chris Wilder, who has led Northampton Town to the League Two title, had been talking to the Addicks, relegated from the second tier this season, but the London outfit have issued a statement saying an agreement couldn’t be reached.