ALLAN Moore has wielded the axe on his Morton squad - with six first-team stars being informed they do not have a future at the Cappielow club.
Leading the summer exodus are full-backs Kevin McKinlay and David MacGregor, midfielders Darren Young and Graeme Holmes, and striker Stewart Kean.
Goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert has also been shown the exit door, while the Ton boss has yet to make a decision on whether to offer new terms to striker Derek Lyle.
Moore is also seeking talks with Carlo Monti, while leading scorer Brian Graham has been offered a contract extension.
But while Moore accepts he had to make changes to his squad, he says telling the players they will be released was one of the toughest jobs of his career.
Moore told the Tele: "That's probably the hardest thing I've had to do. At Stirling Albion, the boys were only part-time and I didn't really see them outside of football.
"But this time I know them well, so it's not a nice thing to do. At the end of the day, it's part of the job and I have to see how we can improve next year and that means changing the squad a wee bit.
"The boys leaving are Kevin McKinlay, Darren Young, Graeme Holmes, Stewart Kean, and I've told Kevin Cuthbert and David MacGregor they can go too.
"But we've offered big Brian Graham a new deal, and I'm looking to speak to Carlo Monti's agent." Moore admits budgetary constraints may not allow him to bring in a goalkeeper to replace Cuthbert - which would leave Colin Stewart as the only senior keeper, should he agree a new contract.
He added: "We might only go with one goalkeeper and use a boy from the under-19s, but it depends on what the budget allows." The Tele has already revealed that Allan Jenkins, Stuart McCaffrey, Marc Smyth and Fouad Bachirou have been offered new contracts.
Moore added: "None of the boys have signed on yet, but we've spoken to who we want to keep and it's a matter of having to shift a few out." Winger David O'Brien and striker Peter Weatherson still have a year left on their current deals, frontman Kevin Kelbie has six months remaining, and midfield ace Michael Tidser recently agreed a new three-year contract.
However, the futures of loan players Grant Evans and Sean Fitzharris remains unclear, with both set to return to their parent clubs, Hamilton and Celtic, as it stands.
With the current squad taken care of, Moore will look to draw up a list of possible signing targets - but admitted the club will not be as busy as they were last summer.
He said: "We don't want to bring in as many as we did last year, and the squad may have to be smaller due to finances.
"We'll be looking for players who can play in a couple of different positions so we are not stretched."