United manager Graham Alexander admits it was tough deciding his retained list for the 2017-18 season.
It was announced on Thursday that David Mirfin, Joe Anyon, Scott Wiseman and Jamie Ness will all leave the club when their contracts expire next month, and the boss explained the decisions in an interview with The Iron PlayerHD.
“David Mirfin is a really popular figure at Scunthorpe United. A fantastic professional, a great lad and more than played his part in what Scunthorpe have achieved not just this season but in previous years,” Alexander said.
“We have to make these decisions with the future in mind. We have to look ahead, and sometimes you have to take a leap of faith in other players we already have and whether they can step into it.
“Mirf has been a great servant for the club, and has been brilliant since I came in.
“It’s with a heavy heart that we had to let Dave go.”
“Joe Anyon is a quality goalkeeper who came in right at the end of the season to play in the biggest games we had this term, and didn’t let us down,” added the boss.
“We obviously brought Rory Watson to the club to progress his career, and you have to make these tough decisions.
“Joe has been a superb servant for Scunthorpe and great in the time I was here. He hasn’t played that much but his professionalism and the way he’s played has been superb.
Alexander continued: “Scott Wiseman as well. Between him and Jordan Clarke, they’ve played half the season each but we have to freshen it up a little bit.
“We have Levi Sutton coming through and we’ll see how he progresses in pre-season next year to compete with Jordan.
“Scott came in before my time here and I found him to be a superb professional. Like Joe, he’s not played all the time, but has been brilliant around the changing room and the squad.”
“Jamie Ness hasn’t played as much as he’d have liked, for different reasons, but he came in like Joe did at the end of the season for the biggest games and played his part in what we did,” Alexander added.
"They were really tough decisions that we had to make on these four players, but I’m sure they’ll go to other clubs and do great jobs for them.
“I can only say thank you for what they did for the club, not just in my time, but before I came here as well.”
He added: “No-one will understand, except another manager, how tough these decisions are.
“It’s a difficult period for everybody, especially when you’ve had such a season where you’ve really done well over the majority of it and every player had played a significant part.
“We can’t forget about all the positive stuff we did well this year, but obviously the aim for us all is to improve.
“On Thursday, I came in and spoke to all the players one-on-one. It was a long process that lasted several hours. It’s important you sit down with each individual though and talk man-to-man.
“Sometimes you have to make hard decisions, but it’s the way football works. Each season it has to evolve.
“There’s a balancing act between budget, how the club needs to go forward and what’s happened in the past. We have to make all these decisions with everything in front of us.”
See a 15-minute interview with boss Graham Alexander on The Iron PlayerHD.