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Rovers release Rowe but the Saul man stays for another season

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 22, 2013

on the move: James Rowe has been released by Forest Green Rovers

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MIDFIELDER James Rowe will leave Forest Green this summer after failing to secure a new contract.

Signed on a two-year deal in August 2011 after being released by Reading, Rowe has started just seven games in the Blue Square Bet Premier this term and is one of only two contracted players due to become a free agent in the coming weeks.

The other is teenage forward Saul Williams, but Rovers boss Dave Hockaday has confirmed that the ex-Tottenham Hotspur trainee will be staying at the New Lawn for at least another year.

Hockaday said: "Saul we'll keep because he is what we would call a project and we believe he has a big future.

"James Rowe knows already that we won't be offering him a contract and I've got decisions to make on the loan players we've got.

"As regards to everybody else, they are all under contract and however it looks now I am happy with that.

"We've had a very good season but the last four or five games are where we've tailed off results-wise."

Rovers completed a miserable 2012/13 run-in by losing 2-1 at Alfreton Town, their fifth straight league defeat.

In and around the play-offs zone for most of the campaign, Hockaday's men finished up replicating last season's tenth-placed finish with five fewer points to their name.

"We haven't proved mentally strong enough after being in with a real shout of the play-offs," he said.

"There were people out there (at Alfreton) who were really struggling physically, and we had people on the bench who we really didn't want to bring on because they were also carrying knocks.

"But it's not about that. We have to look at ourselves and we have to improve and get stronger mentally.

"In many respects we've got to be glad that the season is over because we've limped over the finishing line, and there is a lot of work and hard thinking to do.

"As a player I had five promotions and as a coach I've had a number of promotions, and you have to welcome the grind.

"It's a results-driven business and we haven't been strong enough, so we have to get some players in to toughen us up.

"The players are hurting and I'm hurting, and we're doubly hurting because of the fact that we've played so well this season.

"But nobody goes out to play badly or lose. That hurt will make us tougher and that can only be good."

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