THERE are several obvious candidates for the exit door if Saints are aiming to trim their squad during the current transfer window.

While most of the talk revolves around which players the club could sign, this month is also a chance to either sell or loan out those who are currently out of favour at St Mary’s.

As revealed in the Daily Echo last month, several players are out of contract in the summer.

Jason Puncheon, now free to talk to foreign clubs if any were interested, is the only one currently in the first team picture who is seeking a new deal.

Others include Danny Butterfield, Frazer Richardson, Richard Chaplow, Ryan Dickson, Danny Seaborne and Tommy Forecast.

In addition, strikers Lee Barnard and Jonathan Forte are well down the pecking order.

Full backs Butterfield and Dickson have yet to appear in the Premier League this season, so appear well out of the frame.

Dickson, who didn’t make a single league appearance last season either for Saints, wasn’t even included in the Capital One Cup tie at Leeds when Nigel Adkins made 11 changes.

There seems little point keeping Dickson at the club when he is capable of doing a good job in the lower divisions.

The same applies to Butterfield, who is mainly a right back but who has seen the likes of centre half Maya Yoshida and even midfielder Jack Cork played in that position ahead of him this season.

Richardson is in the same position as Butterfield, but at least he has played in the league this season.

The last of his four appearances came at Stoke recently, showing Adkins at least still has the former Leeds and Charlton man in his immediate plans.

Steve De Ridder is in a similar position.

The Belgian winger hadn’t appeared in the Premier League all season prior to a sub outing against Sunderland just before Christmas, and he made another late cameo appearance against Arsenal on New Year’s Day.

Does that signal a change of heart from the manager that De Ridder still has a major role to play at the club?

Barnard has just returned to St Mary’s after spending the first half of 2012/13 on loan at Bournemouth.

Though initially a regular starter, Barnard hasn’t even been on the bench for Cherries lately as Eddie Howe has partnered Lewis Grabban and Brett Pitman, with the likes of Matt Tubbs on the bench.

Forte has also been loaned out this season, to another League 1 promotion hopeful, Crawley Town.

Adkins is expected to be looking to loan out the two strikers again, even though Saints will soon be a striker down when Emmanuel Mayuka links up with Zambia for their forthcoming African Cup of Nations tournament.

There appears no point keeping players at the club if they are nowhere near the first team squad.

There isn’t even a reserve league anymore to keep the fringe players match fit.

Another man who could benefit from a move away from St Mary’s is Chaplow.

A top performer during Saints’ 2010/11 League 1 promotion winning side, the midfielder has only made two sub appearances in the top flight this term.

Out of contract in the summer, it is currently hard to see him being handed a new deal.

The same goes for Seaborne, who has been on loan at Championship club Charlton since November.

Though Adkins is hardly spoilt for choice when it comes to central defenders, the former Exeter City captain has not played in the Premier League.

Instead, Saints are expected to either look abroad or closer to home for the new blood that is needed to shore up what is still one of the leakiest defences in the top flight.