Ex-Bristol Rovers man and Portsmouth target available for free after Cambridge release

Bristol Rovers could have a transfer opportunity presented to them after Cambridge release their retained list.
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Former Bristol Rovers defender George Williams is leaving Cambridge United along with nine other players in a mass exodus.

The Gas’ League One rivals have announced their retained list which includes 10 departures from the senior team. Williams is leaving after two seasons at the Abbey Stadium.

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Williams is leaving alongside Greg Taylor, Liam O’Neil, Dimitar Mitov, Harvey Knibbs, Joe Ironside, Sam Smith, Shilow Tracey, Lloyd Jones and Ben Worman.

The right-back made 83 appearances for the U’s over two seasons and captained them on several occasions. Cambridge survived on the final day at the expense of MK Dons, but will now have a task on their hands to replace those who are departing.

Head Coach Mark Bonner said, "This season’s list sees many players depart the Club who have made significant impacts over many years and who have contributed greatly to our successes in recent seasons, including this last one.

“I could talk endlessly on each of them, crediting them for everything from ability, performance, personality and character, but in short, we would not have achieved all that we have without them.

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“Some will have earned opportunities to further their careers beyond us and we wish them every success in securing those moves. In other cases, it is my decision to turn over the squad and create a refresh and restart the process of building a new team to face the challenges of League One football next season.”

He has played in League One for the majority of his career and had half-a-season at the Memorial Stadium. Williams was signed by Paul Tisdale, who he worked with at MK Dons and he made 26 appearances in total for the Pirates. He was told he could move on however by Joey Barton when preparing his squad for the 2021/22 campaign in League Two.

He is unlikely to make a return to the West Country any time soon but out of those leaving there are some names that could be of interest. Centre-forward Smith is leaving having scored 13 goals 45 matches this season. Portsmouth - according to The News - are said to be entertaining a move for him.

Smith’s strike partner Joe Ironside is also available. He is 29-years-old and got six goals and two assists in 43 games. He’s just one game shy of 100 appearances in the third tier and could be a good back-up option to have.

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In the attacking department Harvey Knibbs rounds off those who could be worth looking at. The Bristol-born forward is a striker but can also play on the right and left. He got five goals and five assists in 40 games. The 24-year-old is the son of Ralph Knibbs, who made more than 436 appearances for Bristol, scoring more than 123 tries.

Centre-back Lloyd Jones is another player that could be worth considering. He scored four times last season and kept seven clean sheets. The 27-year-old has played 132 times in League One and would add some much-needed experience to the back line.

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