Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh has explained his reasoning behind the decision to transfer list four players, as well as the departures of Paul Anderson and Neal Eardley.
Edinburgh announced the club’s retained list this week, and although Rod McDonald, Harry Beautyman, Jak McCourt and Raheem Hanley are all under contract for another 12 months, they have all been told they can find themselves a new club.
On top of that, midfielder Anderson and right-back Eardley were released at the expiry of their contracts, along with Zander Diamond, Adam Smith and Emmanuel Sonupe.
Apart from Hanley, the transfer-listed players were used to a varying degree by Edinburgh over the final four months of the season, but the manager has made it clear to them that they are not in his future thoughts, and that he would like them to find new clubs before the Cobblers return for pre-season at the end of June.
“They are players that I have had conversations with, and their opportunities have been limited,” said Edinburgh.
“That’s not just coming from me but from the players too, they know they need to play football and their opportunities will be limited here.
“They are all under contract but I think their mindset is they are going to try and find themselves an alternative club, to try and kick-start their careers and get some game time.
“Hopefully that will happen before we return for pre-season.”
It was a similar story for Anderson.
Although he has been a regular starter under Edinburgh and actually triggered an appearance clause for a new Sixfields contract, the Town boss and the player mutually agreed he would be better off moving on.
“Paul’s contract has come to an end he has left the club,” said Edinburgh..
“He did activate a clause for appearances, but we spoke and I think Paul was looking for a fresh challenge, so we have decided to part company.”
The decision on Eardley was a straightforward for the Cobblers manager, but that was more to do with the fact he already has two right-backs contracted for next season in Brendan Moloney and Aaron Phillips.
Brought to the club in January on a short-term contract on an emergency basis with Moloney and Phillips both injured, Eardley had made the right-back slot his own with a string of strong performances, until he missed the home date with Charlton Athletic on March 4 to be at the birth of his child.
Phillips started in his place, and did brilliantly, and Eardley didn’t feature again until the penultimate game of the season at Bury, when he was forced off at half-time through injury.
“I had three right-backs that at different stages were the number one choice, and for the right reasons,” said Edinburgh.
“It was bizarre how Neal lost his place in the team, through something so special as the birth of his second child.
“That allowed Aaron Phillips to stake a claim and what a marker he put down.
“With Aaron and Brendan Moloney contracted, I couldn’t justify having a third right-back.
“With Neal’s contract being up, it was a tough decision but the most logical one to make.”