Mildenhall Town defend decision to release top scorer Andrew Wood

Mildenhall Town manager Christian Appleford, left, and striker Andrew Wood, right, who has been rele

Mildenhall Town manager Christian Appleford, left, and striker Andrew Wood, right, who has been released by the club - Credit: Andy Abbott

MILDENHALL Town manager Christian Appleford has defended the club’s decision to release top scorer Andrew Wood.

The Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side informed Wood that he was being released on Tuesday evening, after being substituted at half-time during Mildenhall’s 1-0 loss at title-chasing Wisbech Town.

Wood was top scorer in the Premier Division last season with 33 goals in 39 games and is currently joint top scorer again this season.

The 6ft 4ins Wood has netted 22 times to head the goalscoring charts with Felixstowe & Walton United’s Ben Cranfield and Ollie Hughes of Walsham-le-Willows.

Appleford said: “People will look at the decision and wonder what is happening, but we have been thinking about it for a long while.

“He performed really well last season and he was rewarded for that, but we don’t feel his performances this season have justified that.

“Only four of his 22 goals this season have come against sides in the top half of the table and that is not a good enough return when you want to be challenging.

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“Two of those four goals have come from penalties and the other 18 have come against teams in the bottom eight.

“We had decided to release him a few weeks ago as we have been disappointed with his form this season, but his on-pitch application and attitude had not been high and his conduct in the dressing room on Tuesday night towards my assistant, Tom Youngs, made our minds up to do it now rather than wait till the end of the season.

“We were playing very poorly and we were trying to give him advice, and if I was a centre forward I would be listening to Tom who played a lot of games as a striker in the Football League.

“The decision to replace him at half time was justified as we played much better in the second half.”

The 25-year-old previously played for Team Bury, Bury Town and Dereham Town, but joined Mildenhall in September 2010 from Thetford, where he had been playing on the left wing, and revived his career at The Rec Way.

Appleford continued: “We have stuck by him for three years, which is the longest time he has been at any club.

“He’s a great lad, and I think him for his commitment, but he needs to be able to accept advice when you are giving him your opinions.

“I have no doubt he will go and do really well and score 25 goals somewhere else next season. He is now ready for the next challenge of his career, while we have got other lads to come in next season.”

Wood declined to comment on his release when contacted yesterday.

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