STAGS AFTER KEVIN GRAY?
Wielding the axe
By Jon Colman, JColman@cngroup.co.uk, Carlisle News & Star, http://www.newsandstar.co.uk, Published on 09/05/2007
NEIL McDonald said his determination to build a Carlisle United side capable of reaching the Championship was behind his dramatic decision to axe some of the Blues' most popular players.
Talismanic captain Kevin Gray was one of four players yesterday told they no longer had a future with the Blues, along with Cumbrian midfielder Paul Murray and striker Derek Holmes.
Gray's departure marks the end of an era at Brunton Park with the 35-year-old defender having played a huge part in the Blues' rise from the Conference to League One.
“He was starting to slow down a touch and getting caught out a bit,” said McDonald. “He is a first-class person and professional and his attitude has been first class, but I just felt we needed to move on. We are trying to build a team that can take us higher and unfortunately Kev has ran out of time age-wise.
“He has been a fantastic person for Carlisle United and he goes with our gratitude.”
McDonald said he was reluctant to offer Gray a player-coaching role as there was currently no such vacancy at United. The defender is already attracting interest from other clubs, with his first club Mansfield thought to be interested.
Stag hunt for Gray
By Jon Colman, JColman@cngroup.co.uk, Carlisle News & Star, http://www.newsandstar.co.uk, Published on 05/05/2007
MANSFIELD Town are weighing up an offer to bring Carlisle United hero Kevin Gray back to the club where he started his career.
Veteran captain Gray's contract is about to run out at Brunton Park and Stags manager Billy Dearden is thought to be tracking the 35-year-old defender.
Gray made his league debut as a 16-year-old for Mansfield back in 1988 and spent six years at the League Two club, where he played under Dearden.
He is also a close friend of Stags assistant boss and ex-team-mate Paul Holland. Gray, left, along with several other out-of-contract players, will have his United future clarified on Tuesday after talks with manager Neil McDonald before the summer break.
If he is not offered new terms then an appearance at Scunthorpe today will be the inspirational skipper's last for the Blues.
Mansfield, 17th in League Two, are set to lose experienced defender Jon-Olav Hjelde at the end of the season, with the Norwegian set to return to his homeland. And with Alex John Baptiste also likely to leave Field Mill, defensive reinforcements will be a top priority for Dearden.
It has been suggested that McDonald could offer the Yorkshireman a player-coaching role, but Gray's priority is to continue playing for at least another season.
The Blues boss said he had received no contact from Mansfield regarding Gray, while the player himself could not be contacted as News & Star Sport went to press.
Latest | May 2007