Midfielder Anthony Howell looks set to follow Lindon Meikle out of the door at Mansfield Town this week.
Meikle today joined York City and talks have now completely broken down with out-of-contract Howell over a new deal, with the club operating on a reduced budget this season.
Stags have already lost Alan Marriott and Junior Daniel after they decided their futures lay elsewhere this summer, Danien joining Port Vale.
On Howell, Cox said: “Talks stalled and I told his agent we are moving on. The package Anthony Howell wants, we can’t afford – it’s as simple as that.
“If he wants to reconsider and get in touch, that’s okay. But something would have to give massively and we are now looking elsewhere.
“Anthony has been a huge part of our success over three years and I get along with him well personally. But what he was asking for and what we can pay are too far apart.”
On Meikle, he said: “Talks with Lindon’s representative had broken down and he was free to speak to anyone.
“It’s part and parcel of the game. We go back a long way, not just at Mansfield, but my previous club, too, and I wish him all the best in his new role at York.”
But, as the rest of his 16-man squad returned for pre-season training in tip-top shape this week, Stags manager Paul Cox said he was very close to signing new faces to bolster his squad up to the 20-22 mark.
He said he was starting to look at trialists in training and added: “We are very close to signing a number of players. Their clubs have been good with us and the players know the sort of finance on offer. I won’t be rushed into anything but I think something can be done very soon.”
Although Stags will be training at Debdale Park in Mansfield Woodhouse, they have initially been down on the hills at Wollaton Park in Nottingham and Cox said: “Not only have they come back in excellent shape, they have also worked so hard we have ended up being able to strip away a certain amount of the long distance running and go into the short, sharp recovery running and hill running. They are a credit to themselves.”