Talks surrounding Bentley's future have opened up once again, this time with Canvey Island and Conference new boys Gravesend & Northfleet leading the chase for the highly-rated 24-year-old.

Bentley is stalling on a new contract offered to him by Shots boss Brown, citing his ambition to play Conference standard football as the reason for his uncertainty.

But Brown has given Bentley and team-mates Stafford Browne (pictured right) and Lee Protheroe until the end of the month to make up their minds — or find a future elsewhere.

Due to the demise of ITV Digital and subsequent finances of a vast majority of Football League clubs, an estimated 900 professional footballers will be on the market this summer, giving Brown and many other of his non-League counterparts plenty of options in choosing his squad for next season.

The boss said: "As a manager you have to put contingency plans into place until all your players have signed. I'm in no desperate hurry, as the way I say it, the earlier you bring a player on board, the more expensive they are.

"Having said that, I would like to get it sorted out as soon as possible and I will be phoning all three of the players by the end of the month, hurrying them along in making their decision.

"This is an exceptional year this year, it really is a buyer's market. I must have spoken to ten or 12 Football League managers from division three, two and even one from division one, and no-one is buying anymore.

"This ITV Digital situation is reality. The clubs are not going to get their money so therefore they are drastically cutting their wage bills or face serious consequences.

"That said, even with 900 or so professionals now on the market, these non-League players are still asking unrealistic amounts of money and clubs are not in the position to meet those sort of demands. We're talking telephone numbers with some of them.

"We are having to compete with the likes of Woking, Farnborough, Stevenage, Canvey, Grays and Gravesend, who are all, generally, keeping their players on existing contracts.

"But we won't be pressing the panic button and have plenty of time in assessing the situation in time for August."

The Bentley situation is more or less exactly the same as this time last year when interest from Stevenage and Farnborough was quashed and then manager George Borg took up a year's option on his two-year contract.

That has now expired of course and the Shots are back to square one. Brown naturally sees Bentley as an integral part of his plans for the next two or three seasons and wasted no time in offering him a new deal, despite Bentley suffering an injury-hit season.

But the big money promise of Canvey chief Jeff King or the lure of Conference football down the road at Gravesend might just be enough to end his impressive Rec career.

Protheroe and Stafford Browne are also in the same boat, although boss Brown remains hopeful that new deals will be done and dusted in the near future.

Browne pledged his future to Aldershot Town seconds after blasting his superb hat-trick in the Hampshire Cup final two weeks ago and is expected to sign on the dotted line when he returns from a two-week holiday in the sun.

Protheroe is also away for a week, weighing up his options.

Elsewhere, a great deal of interest has also come in for the six players recently released by the club.

Nothing has been signed and sealed as yet but ex-boss Borg is one of a number of managers who have contacted the club about setting up negotiations with the half dozen outcasts.

Borg and his Billericay side-kick Gary Calder have expressed an interest in both Ryan Kirby and Scott Forrester, who is also being tracked by Kingstonian.

Neighbours Chesham and St Albans are battling it out for Owen Coll while Sutton and Carshalton have all enquired about Paul Harford, Mark Watson and Leon Townley.