Barrow AFC manager Ian Evatt has addressed the debate surrounding the nature of striker Nathan Waterston’s departure from the club last week.

The Bluebirds announced their retained list on Sunday evening and Waterston, who had been with them for 14 months, was listed as one of the three players who would be leaving the club at the end of their contracts.

Waterston disputes that he was released by them, however, as he initially approached Evatt to say that he didn’t want to sign a new deal after a season that was unfortunately wrecked by serious shoulder and knee injuries.

The 21-year-old Performance Centre graduate is free to look for a new club during a summer where he is already able to keep himself busy playing for Furness Cricket Club in the Cumbria League.

Evatt said: “Nathan, after the Gateshead game, informed the club that if – that’s the key word there – we did choose to give him a contract, he didn’t want to stay, through personal reasons of his own.

“From our point of view and from the football club’s point of view, unfortunately Nathan wasn’t going to be kept on anyway. He wasn’t going to be offered a contract.

“This club has come a hell of a long way in a short space of time and we are looking to recruit to get us into the Football League and, for me, Nathan was not going to be a part of that, so we would have sent him on his way with our blessings.

“It didn’t really work out for him last year and I hope he goes and finds a club, which he needs to do, but that’s where we stand.

“He did inform me that he wanted to leave, but from our point of view, our meetings were on the Tuesday after that game anyway and then he was getting released anyway.”

Waterston could only make seven appearances in the season just finished before having shoulder surgery and he suffered cruciate ligament damage while on loan at Altrincham in February.

Evatt said: "We do wish him all the best because there is a player in there.

"We want the best players to get this club the best chance of getting into the Football League - that's what I want as manager and Nathan, at the moment, is not up to that required standard, but that's my opinion. I hope he can go somewhere and go on to have a decent career in the game."