The top 10 players released by Football League clubs and available on a free transfer

Players released by Nottingham Forest, Barnsley, Burnley, Preston North End, Reading, Leicester City, Sheffield Wednesday and Bolton Wanderers all feature.



Shortly after the end of the season clubs are permitted to publish their retained list showing which players will be staying for the next season and which ones will be released. There have been some big names released this year and although some of those players are in the twilight of their career they should still be able to attract plenty of interest.

Clubs like Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and Wigan Athletic still have big earners in their squad from their Premier League days and after failing to gain promotion some have to be released in order to balance the books.

Here are ten of the best players to be released by Football League clubs this season:

Matt Derbyshire - Released by Nottingham Forest

Matt Derbyshire's career hasn't really progressed as many would have expected. A highly-rated youngster at Blackburn Rovers, his career highlight came at Olympiakos when he scored two goals in the Greek Cup final bringing the side level with AEK Athens on both occasions. They went on to win on penalties. Derbyshire had a good run in the Forest side towards the end of the season scoring five goals in the last five games. Stuart Pearce hasn't kept him on though and is now available on a free transfer. 

Emmanuel Frimpong - Barnsley

The former Arsenal midfielder didn't exactly make the best of starts to his spell at Barnsley. He managed to get himself sent off on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday and only made eight further appearances. Frimpong and Barnsley never seemed to fit each other and I'm sure it was also a bit of a culture shock for Frimpong as well. Despite his energy in midfield he is very temperamental. However just two seasons ago he made 16 appearances for Arsenal, and Wenger doesn't usually knows a good player when he sees one.

Zat Knight - Bolton Wanderers

Dougie Freedman has allowed the captain of Bolton Wanderers to leave after not offering Zat Knight a new contract. The former Fulham and Aston Villa defender leaves after making over 150 appearances for the club during a five-year stay. The 34-year-old will still be courted by numerous Championship clubs one would imagine. Knight won two England caps in 2005 under Sven Goran Eriksson in games against USA and Colombia.

Tyrone Mears - Bolton Wanderers

Another to be released by The Trotters is former Preston North End, West Ham United and Marseille defender Tyrone Mears. The pacey right-back has struggled with injuries in recent years, but on his day he is a superb player. Having played for four different clubs in the top flight, Tyrone has a great deal of experience. He also scored the extra-time winner for Marseille in a UEFA Cup match against Ajax. If he can stay injury-free he can easily be one of the best right-backs in the Football League.

Keith Treacy - Burnley

Burnley have decided to release winger Keith Treacy following their promotion winning campaign. Treacy spent three years at the club after signing from Lancashire rivals Preston North End. The 25-year-old has six caps for Republic of Ireland but none since 2011. Made 27 appearances for The Clarets this season with the majority of those coming from the bench. Treacy can be a very tricky, creative player on his day and should have a lot of teams interested in his signature.

Iain Hume - Preston North End

Iain Hume achieved a second successive promotion this year after helping Fleetwood to promotion from League Two after picking up the League One title with Doncaster Rovers last season. Unfortunately injuries and poor management from Graham Westley hindered Hume at PNE but the fans saw the very best of him in his first season at the club. A passionate, driven player full of energy capable of producing moments of magic. Hume is a hard-working player and his displays have made him a fan favourite wherever he has been. Would be a great free transfer signing.

Anthony Gardner - Sheffield Wednesday

Once capped by England in 2004, Anthony Gardner can be a reliant, composed defender at Championship level providing he can stay injury free. Injuries have disrupted his time at Tottenham Hotspur, Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday. Last season he only managed five games before requiring surgery on an Achilles injury. At the age of 32 Gardner has a few more years left in the game and can provide invaluable experience.

Sean St Ledger - Leicester City

Things haven't quite worked out for Sean St Ledger since joining Leicester City. Injuries have curtailed his progress but he hasn't been in favour with Nigel Pearson at all. It was Sven Goran Eriksson who signed him and last season he spent time on loan at Millwall. He has 36 caps for Republic of Ireland and was a huge favourite under Giovanni Trapattoni scoring the nations only goal at Euro 2012. A fantastic defender who with a run of games can easily establish himself once again in the Ireland team.

Jobi McAnuff - Reading

Former Reading captain Jobi McAnuff was surprisingly released following the club's failure to reach the Championship play-offs. McAnuff has immense experience having played for Wimbledon, West Ham United, Cardiff City, Crystal Palace, Watford as well as Reading. The 2012-2013 season was his first in the top flight and he played in all 38 games. Was a key player at Reading and is still a pacey, creative and tricky winger capable of playing for top teams in the Championship.

Mikele Leigertwood - Reading

Another experienced player to be released by Reading is Mikele Leigertwood after spending three years at the club. Played 30 games in the Premier League for Reading and has also represented Wimbledon, Crystal Palace, and Queens Park Rangers, A formidable presence in the middle of the park, the defensive midfielder still has a lot to offer at 31. Was a huge player when Reading won promotion from the Championship in 2012 and has been instrumental at his other clubs too.

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