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Bradford City confirmed that Shay McCartan was to be released three days ago and late yesterday Lincoln City, in announcing their retained list, have confirmed the departure of former Burnley captain Jason Shackell.

McCartan is probably best remembered at Burnley for his performances in the 2011/12 FA Youth Cup run, notably in the games at West Brom and Fulham when his pace proved too much for them. By the end of that season he’d made his first team debut as a late substitute at Doncaster. He did make the bench again but that proved to be his only first team appearance at Burnley.

He joined Accrington in the summer of 2013 and remained with them for four years. John Coleman was keen to retain him in 2017 but he moved to Bradford City where he’s spent two of the last three seasons; he was on loan at Lincoln during their 2018/19 season.

His departure from Valley Parade, one of ten players they’ve released, is probably no surprise. He’d started only eight league games this season, making another thirteen appearances from the bench.

Shackell’s release, despite him now being 36, is probably a bigger surprise. He is one of eleven players released by manager Michael Appleton although those players will still be available to play until the end of June should League One resume and, by mutual agreement, for games beyond 30th June.

It seems an age since Shackell was at Burnley. He left five years ago to rejoin Derby but a injury in January 2017 meant he’d played his final league game for the club. He went on loan to Millwall where he made just a handful of substitute appearances before Derby released him two summers ago.

He’s definitely got back to playing in the last two years, making 59 starts for Lincoln and taking his overall total of league appearances beyond 500, the firs of them way back in April 2003 when he played for Norwich in a 2-1 defeat at Derby.

Danny Cowley signed him for Lincoln but he’d fallen out of favour with new manger Appleton. Mark Whiley, their local reporter, wrote: “There has been an air of inevitability about Jason Shackell’s early departure. It has been an unfortunate end for a player who was so instrumental in the Imps’ League Two title winning campaign.

“Shackell was majestic last season, forming a superb partnership with Michael Bostwick which must surely go down as one of the best centre back pairings in the club’s history.

“And he has performed well for much of this campaign. It’s worth remembering that against Burton in early December he was a colossus before going off with a hamstring injury. We didn’t know it at the time, but that proved to be the beginning of the end of his Lincoln career.”

Appleton pointed the finger at Shackell as the blame for a defeat at Sunderland on his return from injury and, as Whiley says, his departure had become inevitable.

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