Fleetwood Town boss found it hard to let youngsters leave Highbury

Simon Grayson admits it was difficult to allow two of Fleetwood Town’s academy graduates to leave the club this week.

Saturday, 24th April 2021, 8:00 am

Ryan Rydel and Harvey Saunders both departed Highbury on permanent and loan arrangements respectively.

Rydel had started Town’s last game against Crewe Alexandra but has joined Stockport County on a permanent deal.

Saunders also left for the National League, joining former AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor at Hartlepool United on loan until the end of the season.

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Harvey Saunders has joined Hartlepool United on loan Picture: Stephen Buckley/PRiME Media Images Limited

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“It was a tough decision,” Grayson said.

“With the National League window shutting, there were lots of teams looking to make signings.

“There was an offer that came in on Wednesday for Ryan.

“I wasn’t looking to let him go because I felt he still had a lot to prove and he’d played a few games. He came into the team on Tuesday night and did OK.

“When you mention it to players, and I like to do that to keep them in the loop, what does he want to do?

“He said he wanted to go there on a long-term contract and play first-team football.

“Harvey Saunders went to Hartlepool, who are top of the National League at this moment in time.

“Again, he’s had limited time because of Kyle Vassell, Ged Garner and Barrie McKay recently – you ask the player the question.

“Does he want to go and play regular first-team football, or hope to, between now and the end of the season and his answer was ‘yes’.

“I’ve got to be respectful of players who haven’t played a lot of first-team football and give them that opportunity.

“If either of them had said they didn’t want to go, without a shadow of a doubt they stay and they are in the 18 from now until the end of the season.”

On the pitch, Town travel to Doncaster Rovers this afternoon.

Rovers provided Grayson’s first win as Town boss, since when they have seen former manager Darren Moore depart with Andy Butler stepping up to take interim charge.

Grayson said: “The turmoil of a manager leaving can sometimes have an impact on the squad and that’s probably what happened at Doncaster.

“That’s no disrespect to Andy Butler, who has been in charge since, but Darren was highly regarded hence why Sheffield Wednesday came for him. Doncaster have had a few injuries and that plays a part on teams’ form.”

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