Jim Gannon, manager of Vanarama National League North club Stockport County, has continued to re-shape his squad this week as the club prepares for 2017/18.
With ten players already secured for next season, the manager believes he has “a strong core group of players” to build upon.
But he’s also seeking “a major overhaul” of his attacking options.
Gannon said: “The process of re-shaping and re-energizing the first-team squad for next season is a difficult process and the most mentally demanding time for a manager. A lot of decisions have to be made, and those decisions are important and have to be good to create the foundations for the future growth of the team and the further rebuilding of the club’s football structures.
“Much work will be done in the coming weeks, but the process of building the squad for next season started many months ago.
“Throughout this season we have had a consistent group of players that have performed well and shown their potential for producing results at this level and improving on their own potential within the team.
“Back at the turn of the year we were pleased to announce the continued commitment into next season of Ben Hinchliffe, Sam Minihan, Michael Clarke and Lewis Montrose. In the Spring we signed-up Connor Hampson, Harry Winter, Jimmy Ball and Ian Ormson to next season’s squad, and with promising young players Scott Duxbury and Adam Etches already committed to next season on their two-year contracts we have ten players already signed for next season.
“Our goalkeepers, defence and central midfield have been fairly solid and consistent throughout the season. The defensive strength in the team has meant we finished the season with the best defensive record in the League (including an outstanding defensive record away from home). This gives us confidence that we have a strong team structure and core group of players to build upon for next season. It is pleasing at this stage that the majority of that goalkeeping, defensive and central midfield backbone is committed for next season.
“The overall effectiveness and productivity of the team was very good last season. The players gained seventy-three points, which was an increase of fourteen points on 2015/16. It is the best haul of points gained at this level and brought us very close to a play-off place. However, we have fallen short of our season target of the play-offs and for us to improve we need to further strengthen our back four and have a major overhaul of the attacking side of the team. That improvement will come at a cost and, therefore, we have made the difficult decision at this stage to not offer further contracts to Mark Ross, Courtney Meppen-Walters, Ryan Ellison, John Marsden, Kayode Odejayi and Sefton Gonzales.
“We expect to have further discussions with other contracted players at the club including Danny Lloyd, Chris Smalley, Max Cartwright, Harry Brazel, Adam Thomas, Josh Amis and George West about their futures at the club. We expect those conversations to be constructive and positive. Following the outcome of these talks the club will make a more formal statement regarding the retained and released players.”
The following players have been released: Ryan Ellison, Sefton Gonzales, John Marsden, Courtney Meppen-Walters, Kayode Odejayi and Mark Ross.