NEWPORT County's budget next season is likely to be HALF of what it was on the opening day of the season just ended.

The club have confirmed they will not be going down the same route as last campaign, when then manager Peter Nicholas was given more then £5,000 a week to spend on players.

Colin Everett, supporter-director and media officer, said: "It is fair to say that the playing budget will be around half of what it was at the beginning of last season.

"That is not to say that there will no be room for flexibility if the manager requires it, but we do not want to encounter similar difficulties to those experienced last season.

"The budget was set last year against the risk of performance on the football field and with regard to prospective attendances and with the elimination from cup competitions and the knock-on effect of that, the budget had to be seriously re-addressed."

He added: "What hampered the club also was the amount of players on contracts that did not leave much room to work with.

"That will not be the case in the coming season as, along with the manager, we will look to have a better balance between contracted players and non-contracted players."

Everett insists though that the budget will not be set in stone and manager John Cornforth will be allowed to have some flexibility in the transfer market.

He said: "If it occurs that the manager wants a couple of players to make an early season challenge, that will be looked at, but on a short term basis because, if it doesn't work out, we have the ability to let those players go.

"We don't want fans to panic and think we have slashed the budget in half because it is not far off from the weekly level we had at the end of the season, albeit a different approach to the start."

County's retention list is due out at the end of the week and several big earners are expected to be released and others to be offered reduced deals, with the exception of Nathan Davies and Darren Jones, who are contracted for another season.

The club certainly are not going to make any rash statements as to what their targets will be for the new term, although a period of consolidation looks likely, especially when compared to clubs such as Havant and Waterlooville, who have a reputed £9,000 per week to spend, and Weymouth, with £13,000.

It is certainly clear that boss Cornforth is going to have his work cut out again next season. "There can't be any bold promises," said Everett, "but when you look at last season, we may have finished up close to the bottom but the reality was that we ended up just 15 points away from the play-offs.

"If we had turned five of our defeats into victories it would have been a different story altogether.

"There is no reason why we cannot compete to that level next season."