CHAIRMAN Lee Power has frozen Swindon Town’s playing budget for the 2019-20 season, and manager Richie Wellens insists the club can be competitive in League Two with the money he has to work with.

A worst league finish in 37 years left a sorry mark on a second failed fourth-tier campaign for Town, who will now embark on a third season in the bottom Football League tier for the first time in more than three decades.

Despite the budget freeze, excessive demands from agents and players have made early negotiations difficult for Wellens – who is confident that opposing teams getting business done early are paying over the odds.

Wellens said: “At this moment, where we are with the window being so early, the budget isn’t looking so good.

“Because it’s early, agents and players are asking for more money than what they deserve and what they will actually get.

“It’s about being patient and not rushing in.

“I always feel the players that sign for clubs early do that because they haven’t got many options.

“We’re trying to be patient, we’re trying to wait for the right players.

“The players we are 100 per cent on, we will try to tie them down as early as possible. But some clubs have rushed in and already paid over the odds for some players.

“That’s something we don’t want to do. We simply can’t afford to do it too.”

A vote earlier this month confirmed clubs in Leagues One and Two will have additional time this summer to make signings in an extended summer transfer window.

Wellens will have until 5pm on Monday, September 2, to register permanent or loan players to his squad.

But it is likely the 39-year-old will use the last month of this summer’s window to tie down loan signings from Premier League clubs. And he has already made several calls to young targets.

“The only advantage we’ll get from the extended summer deadline is from the loan market,” said Wellens.

“If you ring a Premier League club and ask for a player on loan, the standard answer we will get is that the parent club will look at the player in pre-season and train with the first team.

“Then, they will let us know more towards the end of pre-season. That extension of a month will probably be used to bring in Premier League loans.

“In an ideal world, I want the majority of my permanent signings to be done by then. But it’s not always that easy.”