BOSS Darren Sarll praised former Cards players Craig Ross, Joe McNerney and Tyreke Johnson and revealed the decision to release them was the hardest one he has had to make this season.

Between them Ross, McNerney and Johnson had made 80 appearances for Woking this season and of their departures Sarll told the News & Mail: “Every season, whether you’ve known them [the players] for five minutes, five months or five years they’re tough, tough decisions.

“In particular, and I don’t want to disregard Tyreke because his contribution was strong with us, but I think in the way of Joe and Craig they were really, really tough for me personally.

“I’m a big advocate of mental health and things like that and you’re always sat there on one side of the table thinking how is that guy on the other side of the table receiving the message I’m giving them.

“And in my experience, normally the calibre of the person receiving that message shines through and Craig and Joe were both – as they’ve been for me in the 15 months I’ve known them – just magnificent. Both of them were big performers for us and played huge parts in a successful season.”  

The Cards enjoyed their best finish to a campaign in 25 years as they finished fourth in the Vanarama National League and qualified for the play-offs for the first time in their history.

Asked for his thoughts on the club’s superb season, Sarll said: “Any season with a majority of wins in it is a far more enjoyable season than one without.

“Because of that, there were some brilliant moments along the way which I’m sure the club and supporters will hold deeply for a while.

“But I have to move on quickly. I don’t think there is any sort of shock in that statement. You have to move on very quickly otherwise the next ship starts passing you by."

Asked if it might be one of the toughest transfer windows he has gone into he said: “Yes, absolutely. Because it also links to how competitive the division is going to be, and this notion that because Notts County and Wrexham have now gone that the league’s going to get easier.

“There’s four or five teams that are already thinking like we were last year. They’re already thinking about starting again, re-investing a little bit more money and trying to push because everyone’s got a hope of being successful.

“It’s going to be difficult and we need to hope that we find another Rhys Browne, and we need to hope that we find a version of Reece Grego-Cox or a version of James Daly.

“I’ve got to do that across the summer but I’ve not got to do 10 or 11 or 12 transfers like last year. That’s a good thing. I’ve just got to do a really good eight.”

For the full interview, get the 25 May edition of the News & Mail – in shops now.