Fleetwood Town boss Graham Alexander insists tough decisions have to be made after two senior players were not offered new deals.
Jon Parkin and Alan Goodall, who both figured in Fleetwood’s Wembley victory last week, bade farewell to Highbury yesterday.
Parkin was at Fleetwood for two seasons, scoring 22 goals in 62 appearances in all competitions.
Goodall joined Town in 2011, securing promotion from the Conference in his first full season.
He was sent out on loan to Grimsby at the start of the last campaign but returned to battle his way back into the starting 11. Playing as a holding midfielder, he was crucial to Town’s late-season success.
Alexander admitted he’d faced a difficult choice over the pair, both 32, but had decided Town needed to make room for fresh blood.
The Town boss told The Gazette: “I’ve got to make some tough decisions now. We’re going to the next level.
“I just think it’s the right thing to do for the club and for the team.
“They were both tough decisions to make. They have both played a massive part this season in the success of the team.
“But we have to bring in new players, and if we are bringing new players in I have to let other players go. It’s as simple as that.”
Alexander insists both Goodall and Parkin will have no problems finding themselves new clubs, particularly given their involvement in the business end of Fleetwood’s promotion campaign.
He added: “They will both, without a doubt, go on to other clubs and do good jobs.
“They have both shown how valuable they are to the club. I said to Goody, ‘You’ve been here three years and helped the club to two promotions. You will definitely get a good club on the back of it.’
“As a manager you look at players who have been part of successful teams and ask if they still have something to offer. Both players definitely have.
“I get paid to make these decisions for the club and I have to do the right thing.
“We wish them the best for the next step because they are good lads and good players.”
The Fleetwood boss admitted the players’ ages had been taken into consideration, but he insisted the primary concern is to strengthen the squad ready to kick-off in League One in August.
“It’s not just black and white,” he said. “You have to look at all the aspects.
“You look at the positions, where we need to improve, a player’s age. But at the end it’s all about asking: can we improve the team and the squad, and if so how?”
One thing is for certain, neither Parkin nor Goodall will forget their final game with Town.
Goodall started the play-off final at Wembley, Parkin coming on as a 74th-minute substitute.
“It’s a great way for both of them to bow out,” said Alexander.
The Town boss is now waiting to hear back from a pair of players who have been offered new deals.
Right-back Conor Mc-Laughlin and goalkeeper Chris Maxwell are also out of contract.
But Alexander is confident of tempting the pair to stay and test themselves at a higher level with Fleetwood.
Negotiations are ongoing, but complicated by Conor McLaughlin’s absence from the UK.
He is currently in Chile on international duty with Northern Ireland. The countries meet in a friendly on Thursday.
“Both Conor and Chris are out of contract,” explained Alexander. “We’ve made offers to both of them. We spoke to them straight after the play-off final.
“Conor was going off to South America that day, so we needed to speak to them.
“Things are ongoing, but it’s a bit difficult with Conor being away on international duty. We want him to concentrate on that.
“We’re in contact with their agents and we want to get something done with both of them.
“They have both turned heads. They did the job we hoped they would do and expected them to do.
“They are both good young players and this is the next natural step for them – to test themselves in League One with us and establish themselves as League One players.”