As one transfer window closes so the preparation for the next one begins. For all Hull City head coach Grant McCann knows the next three months bring priorities in the Championship, long-term planning cannot be ignored.

Kamil Grosicki and Jarrod Bowen might have moved on to fresh pastures in the last week but this summer still sees 10 senior players reaching the end of their current contracts at the KCOM Stadium.

Another five players are currently on loan deals running through until the end of the campaign but the focus will first be on addressing the uncertain futures of a group assembled at a cost of over £20m.

Who do City make moves to keep? And who do they let walk away as free agents?

Jon Toral

City are facing a big dilemma in the shape of their injury-plagued Spaniard and perhaps answers will only become clear once this Championship season is over.

Toral has not done enough during his two-and-a-half years with City to automatically warrant a contract extension. Just 19 starts have come in the Championship and only three of those since the end of 2017-18, his debut season with City.

Jon Toral celebrates Hull City's 2-1 win away to Nottingham Forest
Jon Toral celebrates Hull City's 2-1 win away to Nottingham Forest

The latest setback came in November to rule Toral out for three months and he will know his future will hinge on how much of an impact he can make in these remaining 16 games.

City have the option of triggering a 12-month extension in the original deal signed in 2017 but that would be laden with financial risk given his luckless run in the last two seasons. A new deal on reduced terms would appear to be the only chance of Toral staying beyond the summer.

Kevin Stewart

Much like Toral, Kevin Stewart has not consistently reached the heights expected of him when joining from Liverpool in a £4m deal. Injuries have played their part, like the broken foot he is currently recovering from, but the 26-year-old has only started 40 of the 120 league games that have followed his arrival.

Stewart’s best certainly came this season, when he emerged through the opening two months as City’s most influential figure under McCann.

Those levels had tailed off before injury struck in November to leave doubt over Stewart’s long-term future. Retaining the midfielder on his current salary is unlikely to be an option for City but a strong return in the closing months of the season can strengthen his case for a new deal.

Jackson Irvine

Of all the players nearing the end of contracts, none appear more straightforward than keeping Jackson Irvine. City’s vice captain has amassed over 100 Championship appearances since joining from Burton Albion in August 2017 and become an increasingly influential figure in the dressing room.

Jackson Irvine of Hull City celebrates after scoring against Queens Park Rangers

The midfielder has been among the first picks for Leonid Slutsky, Nigel Adkins and now McCann, underlining his enduring value to every manager he has served.

City have the option of a 12-month extension with Irvine and it is believed have until March 1 to trigger that. Wages are not considered an obstacle and it would surely be unthinkable to let the Australian depart as a free agent this summer.

Eric Lichaj

The future of Eric Lichaj falls into a similar category to Irvine. The American has been a near ever-present for City since joining from Nottingham Forest 18 months ago and was the senior figure entrusted with the captain’s armband at the start of this season.

Lichaj has been called the “model professional” by McCann and remains the type of low-maintenance, self-driven player that makes the head coach’s life that little bit easier.

City again have the option of extending Lichaj’s contract by 12 months on the same terms he currently enjoys and his status within the club would suggest that is sensible business. Lichaj, the oldest member of the first-team squad, still has plenty more to offer at the age of 31.

Dan Batty

City moved to address the future of their young midfielder back in November when offering a contract to replace the one due to expire this summer.

Dan Batty said he would not be “rushing into anything” when discussing that before Christmas, with City believed to have the option of a further 12 months.

Hull City midfielder Daniel Batty

The Tigers are expected to use that for a 22-year-old who has shown himself to be comfortable in the Championship, even if this current campaign has not hit the heights of last term.

None would want to see Batty depart given the flashes of potential witnessed inside the last two years. The contract extension offered is a measure of precisely that.

Stephen Kingsley

City thought they had found a long-term option at left-back when signing Stephen Kingsley as part of the deal that took Sam Clucas to Swansea City in the summer of 2017, but the frustration of the last two and a half years have been dispiriting for all parties.

Kingsley has never fully recovered from the injury that saw miss a five-month spell of his debut season. Setback has followed setback, leaving McCann with little option but to go out and sign Callum Elder to step in at left-back.

Kingsley has left nothing in reserve in his bid to overcome his injury problems but, on current form, it is hard to picture City taking up the 12-month extension they have at their disposal. Certainly not on his current terms.

Markus Henriksen

This decision has already been taken, both by City and their former captain. Henriksen will leave East Yorkshire once and for all when his contract expires at the end of June, bringing an end to what has become an unsavoury saga.

City used their 12-month extension last March to keep Henriksen here for this season but once he knocked back a new deal in September it soon became clear that his time was almost up.

Hull City midfielder Markus Henriksen will spend the rest of the season on loan at Bristol City
Hull City midfielder Markus Henriksen will spend the rest of the season on loan at Bristol City

Relations between Henriksen and the Tigers have soured in the last 12 months after it was felt his summer price-tag scuppered hopes of a fresh start. City, meanwhile, were disappointed that the Norway international turned down a move to Russia.

A loan move to Bristol City has brought a short-term solution to the problem before a £4m signing eventually departs as a free agent in the summer.

Nouha Dicko

Another player who will see out the final few months of his City contract out on loan is Nouha Dicko, currently with Vitesse Arnhem in Holland.

Dicko started McCann’s first game as City boss but within a month had been sent out for the entire season. City explored the possibility of offloading the forward in a permanent deal during January but the absence of takers left him with Vitesse, where he has scored four goals in 14 league appearances.

City can extend his current deal by 12 months, keeping him at the KCOM Stadium until 2021, but his lack of success with the Tigers points towards a separation in the summer. A £3.5m recruit will be a free agent.

Angus MacDonald

It is hard to know how City will approach the future of Angus MacDonald following his recent health problems. Deep vein thrombosis was followed up by bowel cancer for the luckless defender, leaving him out of action for 16 months.

Angus MacDonald is free to resume his Hull City career after being the all-clear in his battle against bowel cancer
Angus MacDonald is free to resume his Hull City career after being the all-clear in his battle against bowel cancer

MacDonald is confident all those issues are now in his past but any decision over his future is unlikely to come until the end of the season once making a competitive comeback.

As part of the contract signed upon his arrival from Barnsley two years ago, City can extend MacDonald’s deal by another year.

Robbie McKenzie

The homegrown defender has now racked up 28 senior appearances for City, with the most recent of those coming in last week’s loss at home to Huddersfield.

The previous fixture against Chelsea was a greater endorsement of his talents but McCann has so far only seen fit to hand the 21-year-old two appearances in the Championship.

McKenzie’s age ensures he is worth persisting with over another 12 months but it feels like a missed opportunity for the youngster to have headed out on loan along with Brandon Fleming.