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Needham Market manager Kevin Horlock explains decision to release five players

It required some tough conversations, but Needham Market boss Kevin Horlock feels his decision to release five players was right for the club.

The Marketmen announced the quintet of departures on Wednesday afternoon, with attacking midfielder Craig Parker joined by Sam Squire, Finlay Shorten, Russell Short and Jordao Diogo in being informed their services were no longer required.

From Horlock’s perspective, he is looking to implement some changes at Bloomfields having taken over from Richard Wilkins in February, and has concluded it was best for all concerned.

FOOTBALL - Needham Market v Lowestoft Town..Pictured: Kevin Horlock ...PICTURE: Mecha Morton .... (34425371)
FOOTBALL - Needham Market v Lowestoft Town..Pictured: Kevin Horlock ...PICTURE: Mecha Morton .... (34425371)

“Needham are a proper club that is run well, and this was not about cost cutting,” said the former Manchester City and West Ham United player.

“I was lucky because I inherited a really good side with good players.

“Everyone got a chance to earn themselves something for next season, and some of these decisions are not just down to football.

“Some of the lads live further away and I want to create the type of environment where we are training more regularly.

“Some players were unable to commit to that and I couldn’t go along with it.

“It was hard to have those chats because they are good lads and good players, but this was right for the football club and the environment we are looking to create going forward.”

With players heading for the exit door, Horlock and his coaching staff have already started the recruitment process.

In these uncertain times of the coronavirus pandemic – and with no current idea as to when non-league football will get the green light to resume – no deals have been struck as yet.

However, the ex-Northern Ireland international has held some conversations as he looks to build a squad capable of challenging at the top end of their Step 3 league.

“Because I inherited such a strong squad there was never going to be a massive overhaul during the summer,” he added.

“We have another three lads out of contract but talks have taken place with them and I am hopeful they will buy into what we are wanting to do and stay with us.

“I am always looking to strengthen – I wouldn’t be doing my job probably if that was not the case.

“We are looking for lads that will fit into what we want to do, and so we have got our eyes out there and we have had a few conversations.

“There has also been plenty of interest coming to me, so I am lucky to have plenty of options.

“I am happy with the lads we have. The nucleus is there for us to be looking upwards, we just need the right players to make us a bit stronger now.”

Needham also confirmed physio James Smith has been released from his role at the club.

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