King’s Lynn Town’s preparations for higher-level football began with a bang on Saturday after Gary Setchell released four players - just one day after finding out what league his side will play in next season.

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The Linnets boss had promised he would make changes to his squad after a torrid end to last season saw The Walks outfit finish with league and league cup runners-up medals.

However, Setchell wasted no time in sticking to his word as he showed the exit door to a quartet of players less than 24 hours after they learned Lynn would be competing in the Evo-Stik Division One South for the 2012/13 campaign.

Right-back Ashley Deeney and midfielders Kieron Davies and Luke Thurlbourne were told their futures no longer remained at The Walks. But in a move which stunned the Linnets’ faithful, Setchell also called time on legendary striker Jack Defty’s days in a blue and gold shirt.

The popular number nine, who scored 161 goals in 405 appearances during two spells at The Walks, is now a free agent and the Linnets boss admitted it was a tough decision to tell the 30-year-old he was on his way.

Setchell said: “I had an individual chat with every one of our players from last season. What we discussed specifically during each meeting will be kept between the player and I.

“All I will say is I explained my reasons to Jack as a number of little key factors had made my decision. He was disappointed but we shook hands, there was no animosity, and we parted company.

“I’ve known him for 10 years, I’ve played with him, and I’d class Jack as a friend so it was a really tough call to make. However, it was a purely professional decision and I’m sure if I see him out we’ll have a beer together. “He’ll move on and do well and I hope the other lads do too. It was a hard day and decisions like that are not the great part of being a manager but I’ve got to do what I think is right. I live by my decisions.”

The rest of Setchell’s squad from last season have agreed to stay with the club apart from Danny Beaumont and Robbie Harris, who are currently on holiday, and Jason Turner and Danny White.

With the Linnets facing trips to clubs as far afield as Sheffield in their new division, striker Turner and midfielder White have asked for more time before making a decision regarding their own futures.

Setchell said: “Both Jason and Danny are desperate to stay but it’s got to be feasible.

“Moving up a league means we’ll have much lengthier journeys which means more hours off work, or days off, and getting home in the early-hours after midweek away games.

“It’s completely different to the UCL and we’ll be having some proper journeys. I’ve had good meetings with both of them but I told them to go home, talk to their families, and have a bit of time to think about things.

“We can’t pay for people to miss time off work and they make sacrifices. At the end of the day they need to decide what’s best for them and their families.”

Setchell is hoping to bring in some “exciting” signings to replace the quartet in plenty of time before Lynn’s first pre-season friendly at Yaxley on Tuesday July 10.

The Linnets, as it stands, will then play St Neots Town at home (Saturday July 14), Dereham Town away (Tuesday July 17), fellow Step-Four newboys Wroxham at home (Saturday July 21), Cambridge City away (Tuesday July 24) before entertaining Lowestoft Town on Saturday July 28.

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