Panther packed off

York Press: Manny Panther Manny Panther

YORK City have released club captain Manny Panther after three years with the club.

Panther, who turns 24 next month, was offered a new deal in January but that has since been withdrawn with Anthony Lloyd, Ross Greenwood, Alex Rhodes and Chris Hall also failing to make Walker's retained list.

The five players follow Darren Craddock, Stuart Elliott and Tom Evans out of the KitKat Crescent door after they were told they would not receive a contract extension earlier this week. On-loan forward Leo Fortune-West will return to Cambridge United following this afternoon's trip to Salisbury City.

Striker Craig Farrell, meanwhile, has been offered new terms but is yet to commit himself to City and is entitled to a free transfer under the Bosman ruling.

Otherwise, Walker has exercised his option to secure the services of eight players for next season.

They are Onome Sodje, Richard Brodie, Mark Robinson, Ben Purkiss, Nicky Wroe, Danny Parslow, Josh Mimms and Jimmy Beadle.

Martyn Woolford, David McGurk, Simon Rusk and Darren Kelly were already contracted to City until next summer, meaning that Walker now boasts 12 senior professionals should Farrell move on.

The City boss has also handed Andy McWilliams and Liam Shepherd first-year professional contracts, along with defenders Josh Ratcliffe and Danny Stimpson.

Panther has made 132 appearances for City after leaving Partick Thistle in 2005.

A number of Blue Square Premier clubs are believed to be interested in his signature and Walker said: "Manny was offered a new deal in January and turned it down.

"He's had a good time at York City over the last three years and maybe he needs pastures new."

Lloyd, 24, has been released by the club for the second successive summer having re-signed in September from Farsley Celtic four months after being freed.

He played 24 games under Walker, who said: "Lloydy was a very difficult decision.

"He's an absolutely fantastic person. The emergence of Andy McWilliams, though, was one of the reasons behind the decision."

Walker has also warned Farrell that delaying over his new contract might mean City look elsewhere.

He said: "There's not a timescale on it but I think it's a very good offer.

"While he's debating on whether to take it though, somebody else might come along and take his place."

Second-year youth-team apprentices Russell Spence and Matthew Johnson have also been released.

Walker said: "I wish them all the best with whatever they do. Our budget means we can't keep everybody and you need to prioritise."

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