Hartlepool United release Andy Monkhouse and Simon Walton

Andy Monkhouse in action against Plymouth. Picture by FRANK REID

Andy Monkhouse in action against Plymouth. Picture by FRANK REID

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HARTLEPOOL United have confirmed that first team regulars Andy Monkhouse and Simon Walton have left the club.

The Sky Bet League Two club announced its retained list for the 2014-15 season at teatime on Monday, with the two experienced midfielders the biggest casualties of the poor 2013-14 campaign.

The other players to be released are Zak Boagey and Greg Rutherford.

A club statement read: “The chairman and everyone at the club would like to thank all of the above players for their services and commitment to the club, and wish them all the very best for the future.”

Meanwhile, the club has also announced it has exercised the options on the following players who will remain at The Vic for the 2014-15 season:

Jack Compton, Michael Duckworth, Scott Flinders, Jonathan Franks, Darren Holden, Luke James, Andy Rafferty, Jordan Richards and Josh Rowbotham

Marlon Harewood and Brad Walker also remain under contract with Pools for next season.

A club statement added: “Discussions are continuing with other remaining First Team players and more information will be made available in due course.”

Manager Colin Cooper held a final meeting with the first team squad at Victoria Park today before releasing the players for their summer break.

Monkhouse, 33, joined the club from Swindon Town in January 2007 after spending a couple of months on loan at Victoria Park before then-boss Danny Wilson made it a permanent move for the Yorkshireman.

The versatile forward had appeared in 42 matches for Pools this season, the majority of which came on the left-hand side of midfield, scoring six times for Cooper’s side which made him joint second-top scorer.

In total Leeds-born Monkhouse played 331 times for Pools, scoring 52 goals and helped the club win automatic promotion to League One in the 2006-07 campaign.

Popular with the fans, he always boasted a good goal return during his spell at Pools but that has now been brought to an end.

Meanwhile, Leeds-born Walton has spent the past two seasons at Pools, turning out 46 times and scoring three goals in the season just ended.

Walton’s disciplinary record let him down towards the end of the season though with red cards against Oxford United away and Morecambe at home on Easter Monday.

The imposing midfielder signed in the summer of 2012 after being released from his contract by Plymouth Argyle.

He had finished the previous season as Argyle’s top scorer as he hit top form after being handed the captain’s armband at Home Park.

Walton started his career at Leeds United before securing a £500,000 transfer to Charlton Athletic. From there he went onto play for Queens Park Rangers and Plymouth and several clubs on loan.

During his time at Pools Walton made 83 appearances for Pools, scoring four goals and has 262 career appearances to his name.

The remaining Pools players - and any new arrivals - will return to pre-season training on July 1.

- RICHARD MENNEAR