"He's been an excellent servant to the club" - Town boss Millington on departures of Summerfield, Harker, Wilson and Scott

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Chris Millington says it has been a joy to work with Luke Summerfield after the midfielder's four years at Town came to an end.

Summerfield is one of four players to leave the club after the expiry of their contract along with striker Rob Harker, defender Tom Wilson and goalkeeper Tom Scott.

"He's just been an absolute joy to work with, a real credit to the club and a fantastic professional," Millington said of Summerfield, who made 121 appearance for The Shaymen.

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"It's been great to watch him operate as a player and a man; head down, crack on, get the job done, no fuss.

Luke SummerfieldLuke Summerfield
Luke Summerfield

"He represents an awful lot of what I'd like the club to be seen and known for.

"It's just been an absolute privilege getting to know him and working with him."

On the reason behind Summerfield's departure, Millington said: "There were a couple of conversations throughout the summer where we'd already loosely discussed what might happen next and it was clear from both sides that it was probably going to be the right time to move on and have a fresh start.

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"For us, a fresh start in that central area of the pitch and for Summers, a fresh challenge.

Rob HarkerRob Harker
Rob Harker

"Four years at one club in unusual at any level but especially at out level, with players moving on every 18 months or two years on average.

"He's been an excellent servant to the club but it became apparent that it was the right thing for both parties, very, vey reluctantly I've got to say, but it was a decision made in a really mature fashion on both sides.

"I know he'll remember his time at Halifax Town findly and always wish us the best and, of course, we'll always welcome him back with open arms and celebrate the seasons we had him here."

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Harker joined Town from Burnley two seasons ago and finished last season as top scorer, netting 17 league goals across his two campaigns.

"It was a tougher decision in other respects because I've gone on record in the past saying how much I think of Rob as a player, an absolutely fantastic finisher," Millington said.

"In some resoects, can compete with the very best in the game in that respect.

"Not dissimilar to Summers, we just felt there was a danger on both parts that the relationship would become stale going into a third season and there was a chance we might not hit the heights we felt were possible.

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"Again, very reluctant and a difficult decision to make because we know Rob's qualities, but we just felt it was right for the evolution of the team and also the evolution of Rob's career that he had a fresh challenge and the team had a fresh start up top."

Goalkeeper Tom Scott leaves after making just two first-team appearances.

"On the playing side, that's probably the toughest job, being second choice keeper, because Sam Johnson is obviously an absolute colossus, a club legend and just never injured," the Town boss said.

"It's such a difficult role and if you give Sam the choice of sitting out a game, he would refuse it and fight tooth and nail to play every minute of every game.

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"So Tom was always going to be starved of minutes and starved of opportunities.

"He knew that coming in, he knew the job was to support and help Sam, and to present a real presence in training.

"As a backup keeper, when you know you're unlikely to get minutes, it can be difficult to remain motivated in training, but the outfield players need a motivated and hard-working number two, which Tom has been from day one until the very last session, he's been phenomenal in that sense.

"But it's the right time for him to move on and start fresh challenges. It was a decision made on both parts but he certainly played a big part in that and wanted to go and start new challenges."

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Defender Wilson signed from Belper Town last summer but played just once for the Halifax first-team.

"We could easily have triggered his option and kept him around," Millington said.

"The plan with Tom was always to get him in the season just past and give him time to get embedded in full-time football again.

"Then have him experience first-team football out on loan than a higher level than he'd been playing and then begin this coming season hopefully as a regular starter or pushing for a start.

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"But when we intended to get him out on loan we had an awful lot of injuries, so he was required for the bench, and then later in the season when we had players coming back, he picked up a knock and was unable to go out on loan.

"So he was a victim of circumstance. The easy decision would have been just to trigger the option, keep him around it and hope for the best.

"But we don't operate like that, we try and make sure we're doing the right thing by the club but also the right thing by the player.

"And in his case, it would have been a real challenge for him to get up to speed and establish a regular first-team starting spot having missed out on so much football last season.

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"So it was a difficult decision. We know that Tom will go on and have a good career, and we hope that at some point, we get the opportunity to work together again, but the right thing for him now is to go and play regular football, build up that experience and hopefully we'll see him at National League level in a year or two's time."

Read more from the Town boss later this week on the Courier website.

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