CLARKE Carlisle has been offloaded to Northampton Town after York City manager Gary Mills discovered he was planning to join the Cobblers in January.

A disappointed Mills left the Professional Footballers Association chairman out of his starting XI for Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Port Vale and has decided to terminate his Bootham Crescent career prematurely by sanctioning a loan move to Sixfields.

That move will become a permanent switch when his Minstermen deal expires in the New Year.

Carlisle, 33, leaves City having made ten appearances since his arrival at the end of August after starting the season without a club.

On his departure, Mills said: “I’m disappointed because he was contracted with us until January but he’s shown a desire to play for Northampton and it was me, more than anything, that instigated the move before the transfer window.

“I didn’t want a player knowing he was only going to be with us for the next few weeks.

“That’s the reason he didn’t play on Saturday and, if the desire was there to leave us in January, he might as well go now.

“I only want people who want to play for York City.

“It’s not right for the players here who are fully committed to the club to keep him here until January.”

But on his shock return to Northampton, the former Leeds United and Burnley defender countered with a plea that his “commitment and effort” to the Minstermen should not be brought into question.

Northampton lie just two points above the Minstermen in the League Two standings but Mills suggested that money might have been the key factor in Ripponden-based Carlisle’s decision to leave Bootham Crescent.

The City boss questioned the former Countdown contestant and Question Time guest’s sense of loyalty, saying: “He lives 50 minutes from York and three hours from Northampton but there will be occasions when, salary wise, I cannot compete with some of the people in this league as York City manager.

“Regardless of that, there are other sides to the game that you hope are stronger than salaries. I brought somebody in who wasn’t fixed up with a club but wanted to get back into the game.

“We gave him that opportunity and it took a number of games for him to get fit. His performances have been okay, maybe a bit mixed, but he’s said he wants to go to Northampton and that’s it.

“Football is what it is. We talk about loyalty in the game and sometimes you get it, but sometimes you don’t.”

Mills will now concentrate all his attentions on the players still at the club and feels his squad is well stocked in the centre-back department with the fit-again David McGurk now moving up the pecking order.

The City boss added: “Chris Doig had a great understanding with Chris Smith until he got injured and I was delighted with him on Saturday. I think we are okay in that area.

“We’ve got Doigy, Chris Smith, Dave McGurk, Jamal Fyfield who can play there and Dan Parslow, who is a centre-half of course.

“We’ve been trying to get Dave McGurk out on loan for a few games but he will be an obvious replacement now if Chris Doig or Chris Smith pick up an injury so we’ve got to work with him on his fitness.”

Explaining his move back to Northampton, Carlisle said Cobblers boss Aidy Boothroyd wanted him to stay beyond January, confirming how Mills had sanctioned his early exit.

He also asked Mills not to question “my commitment and effort”.