Cole Skuse and Jon Stead released by Bristol City

Midfielder Cole Skuse and striker Jon Stead are among seven players released by League One-bound Bristol City.

Bristol-born Skuse, 27, has spent his entire nine-year career at Ashton Gate, playing 307 games.

Stead, 30, has scored 20 goals in 83 appearances over three seasons with City but is now expected to move back to the north of England.

Mark Wilson, Brian Howard, Matthew Bates, Dean Gerken and Lewis Carey will also leave the club.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Tom Heaton, defender Lewin Nyatanga and veteran Louis Carey have all been offered new deals for next season.

Archive: Stead celebrates with fans as Bristol City avoid the drop in 2012

Director of Football Keith Burt said: "The head coach [Sean O'Driscoll] believes Tom and Lewin would be key players for us in League One next season and we'll be making offers to them both.

"With Louis, his experience and know-how is seen as important for what we believe will be a young squad."

The club have confirmed Skuse is likely to sign for another Championship team.

"With Cole, he's been an exemplary servant for this football club and we fully understand his reasons for moving on at this time in his career," Burt added.

"For Jon the lure of playing back up north has been too strong and we wish him luck for whatever his future career holds."

All other players in the first-team squad remain in contract for the 2013-14 campaign and beyond.