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JET To Depart City

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and David Richards are to leave Ashton Gate this summer.

Both players are out of contract and have been informed they will not be offered new deals, with manager Steve Cotterill wishing both all the best for the future.

Forward Emmanuel-Thomas, a former Arsenal youth product, has been with the club since July 2013. In his two seasons with the club he scored 33 goals in 103 games.

“We’re not going to extend his contract here,” Cotterill told bcfc.co.uk.

“I know there are potentially a few people interested in him. I’ve spoken to people about him in the last few weeks and I’ve told them what a wonderful character he is.

“Jay has never been a minute’s bother for me from the moment I walked in through the door. I love him to bits; he’s a fantastic lad.

“The one thing he needs is regular football. I’ve not been able to offer him that this year and if I couldn’t do that this year then there are no guarantees for next year either.

“It was very sad really. I’ve been a big supporter for Jay. When people look at him and see his laid-back style and then suggest he doesn’t care – it’s the total opposite.

“Due to his size, Jay needs to play on a regular basis. It’s hard when he doesn’t play and then gets thrown back in at the deep end. To get that big frame of his around the football pitch, it’s difficult.

“He’ll get sorted out with a new club for sure and if he gets a deal with one of the clubs I’ve been speaking to then I’d be delighted for him. I’ve certainly given good recommendations for him, including to a chairman. He’d do a cracking job for them.

“I’m sad to see him go. He’s been a fantastic character around the place. I thanked him for his time with me and he said ‘it’s been a great 18 months and I’ve really enjoyed it’.

“We had a big hug and we said our goodbyes. I’ve said I’m always at the other end of the phone if he needs to call me.”

Goalkeeper Richards departs Ashton Gate after two and a half seasons with the club.

Although he failed to make a first team appearance, he was an ever present on the teamsheet as understudy to Frank Fielding throughout the 2014/15 double-winning campaign.

“David needs to go and play regular football somewhere,” added Cotterill.

“The exceptional form of Frank Fielding this year has not allowed David to break into the team, but he’s had some fantastic experience.

“He’s been in a squad at Wembley and has a Sky Bet League One winner’s medal.

“It’s definitely time David moves on and tries to get a regular game somewhere.

“I’ve spoken to him and he understands it. I wish him all the best for the future. He’s a smashing lad and I hope he can go and find regular games at whatever level.”

Youngsters Lewis Hall and Gus Mafuta, from the club’s Under-21 group, have also departed the club.

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