Defender Gavin Gunning has today left the club and is expected to sign for English League Two side Grimsby Town, manager Jim Duffy has confirmed.
The then-unattached 25-year-old penned a short-term deal here in September and made 12 starts prior to his contract officially expiring yesterday.
Gunning is now set to return south after rejecting an offer to remain at Cappielow, and gaffer Duffy says the temporary situation was one that benefited both parties.
Speaking exclusively to gmfc.net today, he said: “Gavin Gunning has agreed to sign for Grimsby Town. He came in this morning and explained it to me, said cheerio to everybody and thanked everybody.
“I think the vast majority of people will realise that he is based in England, his family is based down there, and that we can’t compete with English clubs when it comes to finance.
“Even with League Two clubs, there is no way that clubs at our level can get anywhere near it, so both from the aspect of playing in England closer to his family and financially then there wasn’t any way we could compete.
“We tried extremely hard over the last couple of months to extend his contract, but Gavin always wanted to wait and see what January brought, and he’s obviously got an opportunity now to go back down south and play in England.
“It’s disappointing from our point of view, but there have been a lot bigger clubs than us who have lost players to England. Everybody knows the gulf in finance is night and day, and we just have to accept that can be the case at times.
“All I can say is he was outstanding for us, a fantastic acquisition, and we wish him well. He’s helped us, we’ve helped him get back on track again – we’ve been good for each other. He helped Thomas O’Ware alongside him, forming a fantastic partnership.
“But there will now be opportunities elsewhere and we’ll see how we cope with it in the coming weeks and focus on the players we do have.
“I’ve got Lee Kilday, who has been chomping at the bit to get back involved again, and Ricki [Lamie] has been outstanding when he’s played this season, either at left-back or centre-back, so I still think we’ve got plenty of options in that area.”
Image: David Bell