Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray said releasing striker Chris Beardsley last week was one of the hardest decisions he has had to make as a manager.
Murray also revealed that Beardsley had turned down the chance to manage the Stags’ new U21 side as the 32-year-old striker felt he still had something to offer as a player.
Beardsley had an injury-wrecked season on his third spell with the club and Murray said: “It took a lot of thinking to be honest with you. It was probably one of the toughest decisions I’ve made in my season and a half of management.
“It was just a case of on the pitch we didn’t get the best out of Chris this season. That was because he picked up an injury early on which was a hindrance to him over a large part of the first part of the season.
“The way Chris plays, he found it tough to catch up to match pace and, not having a reserve team, we couldn’t get him the game time he needed to get up to the effectiveness that Chris Beardsley is at this level.
“It was one of those that we were looking at the new season and spending our budget in areas we need to get better in and improve on. Because of Chris’ lack of game time last season it is hard to justify the value of a wage for playing time.
“It was a really tricky one to make a decision on as Chris was someone in the group who was huge last season off the field.”
With Beardsley’s coaching qualifications, Murray tried to steer Beardsley down that avenue in a bid to keep him at the One Call Stadium.
“Towards the back end of last season when we had a bit of a switch-up in staff, he helped out there as well,” said Murray.
“He has a lot of strings to his bow. He’s just done his personal training course and he is an A licence coach. So there are a lot of positives for Chris.
“We spoke to him about the U21s job as I felt that might be an avenue we could keep him in the club and he’d stay around our environment.
“But Chris felt he still had a part to play in someone’s first team dressing room which, being honest, I totally agree with.
“I think he’s still got a lot to give in certain areas. But for us at the minute, we are going to look elsewhere in terms of that position and bring something else in.”