FLEETWOOD boss Graham Alexander has revealed how his own experiences influenced the decision to let former skipper Steve McNulty walk away from Highbury.
McNulty joined Conference side Luton Town in the January transfer window - a move criticised by many Town fans.
But Alexander insists it was a decision made with the best interest of the player at heart.
He said: “There is no denying Steve McNulty was a big part of this club’s advance.
“He was a massive part of the promotion team.
“But at the end of the day we had to make a decision.
“When we came into the club Steve was injured and the back four we chose kept five clean sheets in seven games.
“It was difficult for Macca to break back into the side. He was getting frustrated at his lack of opportunities and we knew that.
“We had several conversations because, as a player and as the club captain, he deserved that respect.”
Alexander insists the decision which followed - allowing McNulty to leave Fleetwood - was one made on the back of his own frustration under Eddie Howe at Burnley.
The defender was club captain at Turf Moor when Howe replaced Brian Laws but found his own chances limited.
He said: “I had the same experience when I was a player.
“At Burnley I was captain and had played in almost every game up to the point Eddie Howe arrived.
“He came in and took me out of the team, he did not play me.
“I asked if I could go out on loan, he said no and I ended up not playing again.
“All I wanted, particularly at that time in my career, was to play football.
“I did not want that to happen to Macca, it was always in my mind in every dealing we had with the player.”
Allowing skipper McNulty to leave the club showed Alexander wasn’t afraid of making tough - and potentially unpopular decisions - an atribute he’ll need this summer as he continues to stamp his mark on the Highbury side.
And the former Preston North End star has already laid out his vision of how he wants Fleetwood Town to look, and play next year.
He said: “We want a smaller, more competitive squad. That’s at the heart of what we are trying to achieve here.
“We want to be hard to play against but exciting to watch.”