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Torquay United retained list sees Ben Harding and Elliot Benyon transfer-listed

By Herald Express  |  Posted: May 13, 2014

  • Ben Harding. Picture by Torbay News Agency

  • Elliot Benyon. Picture by Torbay News Agency

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MIDFIELDER BEN Harding and striker Elliot Benyon have both been added to the transfer list by Torquay United manager Chris Hargreaves.

The Gulls’ boss has also released winger Danny Stevens.

But Hargreaves is offering new deals to long-serving captain Lee Mansell, both his senior goalkeepers Michael Poke and Martin Rice, midfielder Damon Lathrope, striker Ashley Yeoman and winger Niall Thompson.

Left-back Tom Cruise, whose contract is up this summer, has also been invited back for a ‘prove-your-fitness’ pre-season training mission.

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The latest player news completes Hargreaves’ retained list, in the wake of United’s relegation to the Conference.

He had kicked off that process by listing six under-contract players last week – Dale Tonge, Aaron Downes, Karl Hawley, Jordan Chapell, Shaun Cooper and Nathan Craig.

Left-back Kevin Nicholson broke the news of his own release, after seven years at the club, a couple of days later.

Now former MK Dons, Aldershot and Northampton player Harding has been listed after just one season, affected by a foot injury, but Benyon – he also has another year to run on his contract - and Stevens, who is a free agent, are being made available after several years of service.

Benyon has spent three spells at the club, since his first signing in 2007, scoring 53 goals in nearly 200 appearances.

Stevens, 27, also arrived seven summers ago, was released in May 2013 and then returned to play for Hargreaves last January.

He is leaving after 221 appearances and 28 goals, prompting Hargreaves to say: “As a person and a player, Danny has been fantastic for the club.

“I am sure the fans and myself want to wish him all the best, but we are heading in a different direction and finances also dictate that these sort of decisions have to be made.”

Hargreaves confirmed that he is offering new terms to Mansell, who has just completed his eighth season at Plainmoor, goalies Poke and Rice, Lathrope and Academy product Yeoman.

Thompson, who also came through the club’s youth scheme, has been offered a six-month deal.

Former Arsenal starlet Cruise has had an injury-interrupted campaign, and Hargreaves said: “I have invited Tom back for pre-season, to prove his fitness to earn a new contract.”

The only two players whose futures have not been resolved are winger Billy Bodin and midfielder Joss Labadie.

But Bodin, whose contract is up, will stay with the club until he recovers from a cruciate knee ligament operation, and Labadie is still embroiled in a disciplinary process with United, following his ten-match FA ban for allegedly ‘biting’ Chesterfield opponent Ollie Banks in a match in February.

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