Burnley manager Sean Dyche says that Jeff Hendrick is unlikely to be seen in a Burnley jersey again, unless he signs a new contract.
The Republic of Ireland midfielder's current deal expires on June 30.
Hendrick's in the same position as Phil Bardsley, Aaron Lennon and Joe Hart, and all four were omitted from Burnley's matchday squad for their Premier League game at Manchester City.
Dyche named only seven substitutes out of a possible nine for the match at the Etihad.
"We've got some things going which are hard to put together at the moment, with contracts and things like that, so we're a bit skinny on numbers," he told Sky Sports prior to kick-off.
Clubs can offer players who are out of contract on June 30 extensions to keep them until the conclusion of the season.
Hendrick's Ireland teammate Robbie Brady was another who was due to be out on contract this summer, but the club opted to exercise the one-year extension in his deal.
From Dyche's interview it seems such short-term deals have not been forthcoming from Burnley chairman Mike Garlick.
"It's a strange situation with contracts. The chairman advised what we should do, and then it's been a long delay in getting things done," Dyche said.
"So the players, therefore, who haven't been offered things have made the decision to not finish their contracts as such, even if it's the next ten days.
"It's been tough. It's been tough on the group, and tough on the situation for us."
Hendrick has been linked with a free transfer to Serie A giants AC Milan in recent months.
"The players who haven't been offered things have made a decision not to play"
Sean Dyche admits he is missing a number of Burnley players tonight v Man City due to contract issues
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When asked if the four soon-to-be free agents will be seen playing for Burnley again, Dyche replied, ""Well not at this moment, obviously, we'll see.
"I'm trying to get things sorted out, but it's not easy."
The Burnley boss was asked if he wanted to offer new deals to Hendrick and Bardsley, replying, ""Well, all of them I would've kept - certainly in the short term.
"But obviously I don't sort the contracts out, so yeah.
"It's not ideal, but it's part of management, it's one of them things.
"We've still got a great group here, who give us everything, so I'm still focusing on that.
"There's no lack of focus. We've had a lot of challenges in our time and my seven-and-a-half years here, so this is just another one of them."