JAMES Knowles admitted that he was ‘stunned’ when he was told his time at Bradford Park Avenue was up.

The centre back and striker Nicky Boshell were released as part of a cost-cutting exercise just two days after the narrow 2-1 home defeat against Vanarama National League North leaders Salford City,

Knowles, who has now joined former Guiseley boss Steve Kittrick at Evo-Stik One North promotion chasers Scarborough Athletic, said: “I was very disappointed especially after being there for so long and for it end like that – with a phone call on Monday morning after the Salford game.

“I wasn’t happy because I didn’t want to leave. I’d played the majority of the games this season and thought I was playing well. I lost my place after one game that we lost heavily and felt that I’d been made the scapegoat, but I took that and earned my place back.

“After a run of games back in the team to be told I wasn’t wanted was hard to take. I was gobsmacked – stunned to be honest. At the time I didn’t even think about what was next – signing for another club – I was in shock for at least two days.”

Avenue boss Mark Bower and his assistant Danny Boshell – striker Nick's elder brother – didn’t want to lose either player.

It is understood that they were instructed to trim the playing budget and it was unfortunate that Knowles and Nicky Boshell were non-contract players.

Knowles added: “The manager told me that he didn’t want to get rid of me and I’ve known Bowser long enough, I trust him.

"I also got a call from Danny and he said it was a first for him as he’d never had to release a player that he still wanted in all of his time in the game.

“It certainly wasn’t down to footballing reasons so I’m glad about that. I went back to Park Avenue after my injury because I felt I still had something to prove.

"We were 13 points adrift at the time, but we went on a great run and pulled well clear of relegation.

“We’d picked up where we’d left off really and were pushing for promotion. But I’m not there now and it’s just a shame really when it happens like that. I wanted to see the job through and be in the National North play offs.

“I hope they make it because it’s a great club with a very good group of players and great fans so I wish them well.”