Wrench to leave for Sparrow

PAUL Sparrow has told Guardian Sport that it was a 'massive wrench' to quit Lancaster City just days before the start of the season.

The 30-year-old defender has left Giant Axe after six years and is in talks with a Nationwide Conference side and UniBond Division One side Kendal, now managed by former City boss Tony Hesketh.

"I have had contact from a Conference club, so I am considering that," said Sparrow.

"I spoke to Kendal in the summer and was tempted and I will wait and see what happens."

Sparrow, who was the club's longest-serving player, cited 'a few issues' behind his reasons for leaving Giant Axe.

"It's a massive wrench to leave," he admitted.

"I am very disappointed to have to make this decision to leave, but I felt it was the right thing to do, after a few things that have happened over pre-season.

"I have had a really good six years at Lancaster City. I played in quite a few good teams and some that were not so good."

Sparrow was absent from last Friday's photocall at the ground and was also missing from Saturday's friendly draw with Witton Albion.

"I wasn't in the right frame of mind to play," he said. "I received a telephone call on Friday night that made me consider my options and I decided on Sunday to leave."

There were hopes at Giant Axe that Sparrow may change his mind but Sparrow was adamant he had left, although he said he had 'no problem with anyone at the club'.

"It is just that circumstances are not quite what I wanted them to be.

"I would like to thank everyone connected with the Lancaster City, the fans and people who work for the club, for the good times.

"It is a really good club and I wish them all the best."

Sparrow was the only member of the current squad around before manager Phil Wilson arrived.

He came to Lancaster in September 1999 from Rochdale. He moved to the North West after signing for Preston North End from Crystal Palace.

"It has been a really good six years and I feel the club has moved forward."

Manager Phil Wilson tried to persuade Sparrow to stay over the weekend.

He said: "I am disappointed, I did not want Paul to leave but he has got other reasons for leaving."

Sparrow's departure leaves Wilson with just Iain Swan and Joe McMahon in central defence, although Andy Scott can also fill in.

But Wilson may put Andy Bond in there after the 19-year-old joined City again from Crewe after his excellent loan spell last season.

Wilson is realistic about the coming season, especially with a tricky start with a trip to Hinckley and then a home game with Stalybridge on Tuesday.

"Hinckley are a strong, physical side who have signed players with proven Conference track records.

"And Stalybridge have signed 12 players in the summer and have a squad of 21 which says everything.

"We have got a job on our hands but I genuinely believe with a bit of luck with injuries and some confidence, we could have a successful season."

Wilson will have to do without new signing Steve Skinner for the first five games who, as well as being injured, has a suspension from playing in local football last season.