Luton boss Nathan Jones has explained the reasons behind his decisions to release five players from Kenilworth Road after announcing his retained list this morning.
Club captain Scott Cuthbert, Jordan Cook, Lawson D’Ath and Johnny Mullins all left the club, as did young midfielder Kavan Cotter.
Speaking to the Hatters' official website, Jones said: "It would be easy for us to have kept all four of those players – Scott, Johnny, Lawson and Jordan – because they have been wonderful servants to the club.
“They are excellent players and we were delighted with their attitudes.
"We had chats with them and they were difficult conversations, but not for reasons about it coming to an end. It was more a joint thing about how it would be beneficial for them to move elsewhere to play more regularly and progress their careers.
“There were arguments we could have taken them all forward, because they could play in League One. But their game time would be restricted and all round it is better that they move to other clubs where they will be key players.
"We thank them for their attitude and everything they have brought to us. It was hard parting with them, but it was the right decision all around."
On releasing Cuthbert, who had been skipper for the majority of Jones' matches in charge, making 111 appearances in total, Jones said: "With Scott, he’s been here for two-and-a-half years under myself, and he’s helped oversee the change in playing style and make-up of the squad.
"I would like to thank him for all his efforts because he’s been a great captain for me.”
When talking about Mullins, who has since joined League Two Cheltenham Town after playing 51 games for the Hatters in two years, Jones continued: "With Johnny, we brought him in because he was experienced at this level, having been promoted with two clubs, and we wanted to give him to help us get promoted and win another for himself.
"He fulfilled that and we thank him. He’s been fantastic to have around the club.”
On midfielder D’Ath and attacker Cook, who made just four league starts between them during the promotion campaign, Jones said: "In terms of Lawson and Cookie, they both have enough quality to play in League One.
"We could have taken them forward, but I just felt that if their game time was restricted this year, it might be the same next year, which is not beneficial for either one of them."
After not renewing Cotter's contract, who had loans spells at Oxford City and Hitchin Town this term, Jones said: "Kav hasn’t quite hit the levels needed by what is now a League One side, so rather than keep him around, we felt it best that he goes and finds his own pathway.
"We wish him all the best and thank him for everything because he’s been a great kid. His attitude and everything has been spot on since the day he turned pro.”
Another departure from the club today saw Olly Lee reject the chance to stay at Luton, heading to Scottish Premiership side Hearts on a three year deal, as Jones said: "Olly has had a wonderful season.
"We offered him a contract back in January and he felt that Hearts would be a better place to progress his career, so we wish him all the best and thank him for the important role he has played in our promotion.”
Jones also offered new contracts to Alan McCormack and Glen Rea, with the Town chief adding: "In terms of contract offers, there is a lot ongoing at the minute and we’ll update supporters as things develop.”