Exeter City wish James Hamon, Luke Croll, Jimmy Oates, Felix Norman and Max Smallcombe all the best following the news that they have been released.
Manager Matt Taylor has revealed his retained list with the following players all under contract for next season:
The club is still in discussion with Troy Brown, while Christy Pym and Hiram Boateng have been offered contracts. Out of the players that have left the club – James Hamon, Jimmy Oates, Luke Croll, Felix Norman and Max Smallcombe – James and Luke are the two players who have made most appearances for the City first team.
On Luke Croll’s departure, Matt said: “Since Luke came to the club it has been a real shame because he is a talented player, but his body has just let him down, to be honest with you.
“He had a spell – 10 games into the season – where he went on a run of six to eight games where he performed pretty well but then injury curtailed the remainder of his season.
“That has been the story of Luke, I am afraid. I fully expect Luke (Croll) to have a career in professional football but he has got to get his body in a position to allow him to do that and his mind will play a part in that as well.”
On James’ departure, Matt added: “James has been here a number of years. He probably got his chance at an early age, when he played 30 games in a league season.
“In the last few years he has been understudy to Christy Pym and we just felt that his performances when he has stepped in this season, and also his performances for the under-23s, have not been up to the level that we need from the No. 2 goalkeeper.
“It is, probably, best that James moves on and finds a career elsewhere in the game and we wish him all the best.
"He is a great character and the lads and the staff will really miss him but it is the right thing to do for the club.”
Matt added that he also expects Christy Pym and Hiram Boateng to depart, with them not having signed a contract.
However, he was quick to point out the service they have given the club, especially Christy Pym who having graduated from the club’s academy has made 166 first team appearances and won many plaudits for his sterling performances between the sticks.
“I have got to be realistic in terms of Christy and Hiram who we have offered contracts to,” said Matt. “Christy has been a fantastic servant to this football club, he really has, and I fully expect him to go on to bigger and better things.
“Unfortunately, I was given the task of having the likes of Christy and Hiram coming into the last year of their contracts. The first job I did was to try and get them tied down but when a player goes into the last year of their contract they hold all the cards, plus they have been, not undervalued, but they don’t feel they were fully valued earlier on.
“So, Christy goes with my best wishes, if he does go, and I want the fans and everyone associated with the club to be really respectful of Christy. He has done everything he possibly can and performed so well in recent seasons.
"He has probably played the most amount of games for a keeper of that age at any level, which is fantastic and testament to him and because of that he will probably go on to bigger and better things than ourselves.”
Speaking about potential signings, Matt added: “It is my job now to get the extra bodies in and I am still looking to recruit five or six permanent signings and then we will bulk-out the squad with a few loan players as well towards the end of the window.
“I have got a couple of months to do that, but the work on that started well before the January transfer window and we are moving in the right direction.
"I don’t predict too much will get done until the second week of June, which was one of my frustrations coming into the job last summer that not much gets done in May, because as much as you are planning and the conversations are in place, the actual signing of contracts only happens in the second or third week of June. You have got to be patient but we have got a lot of work to do.”
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