Captain Nathan Pond among six to leave AFC Fylde as retained list is confirmed
Captain Nathan Pond is among six players who will be leaving AFC Fylde when their contracts expire next month.
Promotion king Pond, now 36, was denied the chance to add an eighth one to his amazing CV when his season with the Coasters was cut short in February.
Blackpool-born striker KurtWilloughby will also leave the club this summer, as will Sheldon Green, Max Johnstone, Jordan Lussey, Junior Mondal and James Stanley.
Out-of-contract players who have been offered new deals are Luke Burke, Jordan Hulme, Emeka Obi, David Perkins, Danny Philliskirk and Alex Whitmore.
Goalkeeper Chris Neal, Pond’s former Fleetwood Town and Salford City team-mate, is one of six players to have their contract extension options exercised by the club.
Luke Conlan, Liam Nolan, Jack Sampson, Ben Tollitt and youth product Jack Byrne will also remain under contract for the next 12 months.
Central defender Pond will always be most closely associated with Fleetwood, where he made well over 400 appearance in 15 years, winning six promotions which lifted the Highbury club into League One.
He joined Fylde last August after two seasons at Salford City, with whom he celebrated another promotion into the EFL courtesy of a play-off final victory over Fylde.
The Fylde skipper and Monserrat international had high hopes of yet another promotion from National League North until clubs voted to terminate the season in February due to complications arising from the pandemic.
Keeper Johnstone’s season at Mill Farm was ruined by injury, while fellow 2020 signings Lussey and Mondal did not make the impact they would have hoped . Green and Stanley were both graduates from the club’s academy.
Perkins, who turns 39 next month, has earned another deal on the back of an impressive campaign.
Burke and Philliskirk, who have also been offered new deals, are long-serving players, having joined the club in 2017 and 2018 respectively, while defender Obi joined from Wigan just before the season was halted.
Nick Haughton and January signing Sam Osborne are already under contract for next season.
A club stagement said that: “Everyone at AFC Fylde would like to thank all of the players who are leaving us for their effort and commitment during their time at the club.”
Though the retained list was only announced on Thursday afternoon, manager Jim Bentley told The Gazette that the players concerned had been told of the decisions some time ago.
In the current environment, the Coasters boss felt it only fair to inform players early to help them plan for the future.
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