McPhail opts to leave Oakwell Exclusive Ian Appleyard FORMER Leeds United midfielder Stephen McPhail has confirmed he is quitting Barnsley – just over two weeks after helping the club win promotion to the Championship. The Republic of Ireland international has rejected a new two-year deal saying he wants a "new challenge" and his departure may not be the only setback of the summer for the Oakwell club. Of the seven out-of-contract players offered new deals immediately after the League One play-off final victory over Swansea, only captain Paul Reid has so far agreed to stay. Striker Daniel Nardiello, winger Chris Shuker, defenders Bobby Hassell and Antony Kay, and goalkeeper Nick Colgan remain undecided. Chairman Gordon Shepherd last night described 26-year-old McPhail's decision as a "disappointment" but stressed that Barnsley, who will have one of the smallest budgets in the Championship next season, cannot afford to risk financial instability. "Stephen has returned a letter which suggests he wants to explore a new challenge," revealed Shepherd. "We take that to mean he will be leaving us this summer. "It is a disappointment because Stephen is a good player – one of the most elegant I have seen – but you can't blame people for wanting to seek fresh pastures from time to time. "We know what we can afford to pay. The offer we made to Stephen was quite good but we have to be prudent – there is no way this club is going into administration again." Hull City had been leading the chase for McPhail but the probable departure of manager Peter Taylor for Crystal Palace today casts a doubt on that switch. Former Barnsley chairman Peter Ridsdale wants to tempt McPhail to Cardiff, where he is the deputy chairman, while both Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds have been linked with possible moves. McPhail has spent two seasons playing League One football with Barnsley, a world away from his appearances in the Champions League with Leeds as a youngster. Having won promotion to the Championship, there was optimism at Oakwell that he would agree to extend his stay.