ATHLETIC have announced that out-of-contract stars Paul Paton and Lee Ashcroft will not be offered new deals.

In the last few minutes, the club have confirmed that 17 players whose exisiting terms were due to expire at the end of the month will not receive offers to extend their stay at this time.

As well as captain Paton, and vice-captain Ashcroft, Danny Devine, Tom Beadling, Ryan Scully, Joe Thomson, Andy Ryan, Callum Smith, Stuart Morrison, Gregor Jordan, Scott Cusick, Cammy Graham, Lewis Sawers, Josh Robertson, Lewis Crosbie, Craig Burt and Paul Brown are all set to leave.

In a statement, the club said: "All Scottish football clubs are now faced with challenging and uncertain times.

"As a consequence of this continued uncertainty, we are afraid to announce that unfortunately our club will not be in a position to offer new contracts, at this time, to any of the players who are out of contract over the coming days.

"As we don’t know when we will be playing games again we have no other option but to protect the future of the club itself. This has not been an easy decision to make, being aware of the impact this may have.

"We would like to offer our very best wishes to all of the players and their families, as well as thanking them for their services to our club."