ALBION boss Brian Horton has released NINE players in a massive end of season clearout.

Goalkeeper Nicky Rust, the Seagulls' longest-serving player, is the most significant casualty as Horton begins the process of rebuilding a team which has finished next-to-bottom of the Football League twice in a row. Robbie Reinelt, whose equaliser at Hereford kept Albion up two seasons ago, is also on his way, along with Andy Ansah, Paul Linger, Eric Saul and Ross McNally. The other victims are Graeme Atkinson, Damian Hilton and Jeff Woolsey, whose contracts Albion took over until the end of the season from Preston, Norwich and Queens Park Rangers respectively. Loan signing Scott Thomas has gone back to Manchester City. Said Horton: "The League position over the last two years has dictated what I have done. Pre-season now will be about trying to mould a new side. "I want some winners in the club. We won six games this season, which is absolutely ridiculous. "It's a tough, physical and competitive division and I am going to be looking for people that can stand up and be counted." Cambridge-based Rust, 23, joined Albion in the summer of 1993 on a free transfer from Arsenal. He made 177 League appearances for the Seagulls but only 16 this season after losing his place to Mark Ormerod. Said Horton: "The time has come for the players I've released and certainly that's the case with Nicky Rust. He came to see me when I arrived. He's been here for five years, he wasn't in the side and he thought it was time to maybe look at leaving. "The Bosman ruling has given players that option, but it also gives us a chance to chop and change things around." The mass exodus leaves Horton with 13 players under contract plus Jeff Minton and Richard Barker, who will be offered new deals. "A lot of these are young lads, so I will be looking for players with some experience in League football," he said. Horton is hoping to kick-off next season with a squad of up to 23, which could mean as many as eight new signings. "We all know money has got to be set aside for Withdean and we are going to have to be sensible," he added. "I have spoken to the chairman Dick Knight and they have come up with some of the things I needed to know. "There are not going to be fortunes and that is where man management comes into it from my point of view. We have got to compete in a market which, because of Bosman, has given license to players."

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