Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is ready to get tough with his fringe players.
Although Bruce has been told he needs to offload players to clear room in the budget for new signings, several of those who he earmarked to leave appear to be digging their heals in, says The Journal.
This could be a major problem for the Black Cats as players like Nyron Nosworthy, Teemu Tainio and Phil Bardsley have already suggested that they are willing to remain on Wearside and fight for their place in the first team.
Although there is tentative interest in all three, nobody has made a firm offer and there is a growing concern some fringe members of the squad will refuse to leave as they will have to take a pay cut to do so.
Bruce cannot fault the determination of players like Bardsley or Nosworthy, but he may have to force them out of the door this summer rather than allow them to drain valuable resources, as owner Ellis Short looks for a sensible financial approach at the Stadium of Light.