MICHAEL Appleton is expecting to get some clarity on the scope of his transfer activity during the summer when he sits down with Oxford United chairman Darryl Eales shortly.

The process of working out the playing budget for next season is due to begin in earnest, with the pair set to discuss the future before the weekend.

While the final figure is unlikely to materialise for several weeks – and would be impacted if United sold anyone in the close season – Appleton is hoping to get a better idea of the resources which will be at his disposal.

Timing is important, with the U’s head coach keen to act swiftly when it comes to offering new deals to players he wants to keep.

He said: “Let’s hope we have an opportunity to have a real push next season. It’s a process.

“Over the summer I will end up getting the magical figure. We will wait and see.

“I would like to give them (out-of-contract players) an idea of whether we can do something.

“The last thing I want to do with someone I want to keep is allow him to go on holiday. I’ve had that problem in the past.

“You’ve got to try to get your business done as early as possible because June’s a bit of a write-off for holidays.”

He added: “We’ve got a couple of important meetings at the back end of this week.

“I think from a financial point of view we’ll be able to make a better decision either just before the Millwall game or just after it.”

Eales sanctioned an increase in the playing budget of about 50 per cent this season, to ensure the squad could compete following automatic promotion to Sky Bet League One.

Appleton has made it clear he feels the addition of three or four experienced players is needed to take them forward into genuine play-off contenders next season.

Eales believes the U’s boss can win promotion without a top-three budget, but is optimistic about the chances of helping to keep the club on an upward trajectory.

He said: “My anticipation is the playing budget will as an absolute minimum stay the same and more than likely it will go up.

“Depending on what happens with players it may go up by an interesting amount from Michael’s perspective.

“The point is the one bit of the budget that’s sacrosanct is the playing budget.

“You wouldn’t do anything to inhibit the ambition of the club because that’s what Michael and I are ultimately about.”