DEFENDER Tom Broadbent has been told he can leave by manager Richie Wellens amid the club’s desperate need for a fit centre back.

Alongside the often injured Mathieu Baudry and Dion Conroy, Broadbent has not been fit since Town returned for pre-season duties in late July following surgery over the summer.

And when the official squad numbers were released on Monday, the former Bristol Rovers man’s name did not appear alongside his previously-donned number five shirt.

When asked for clarification on why that was, the Town boss said he could not wait any longer for Broadbent to rediscover his fitness and a decision had to be made if the club was not to struggle on in the absence of a senior fit centre back.

Wellens said: “We’ve told Tom that he can find another club.

“With the salary cap, if you give people a squad number then they’re included in the salary cap.

“So the only way we can get another centre back in is to use the money that Tom Broadbent takes up.

“Whether he’s at the club or not, if we don’t give him a squad number then his money is free to use to get another centre back in.

“We’ve been waiting for Tom to be fit, he should have been fit maybe three or four weeks ago and he isn’t.

“So it’s got to the point now where with Conroy, with Baudry and with Broadbent all injured and no guarantee that they’ll come back any time soon, we needed to make a decision so that we can get a fit centre back in as soon as possible.”

No names have yet been touted by the manager, although one name who definitely will not be coming back to the County Ground is former fan favourite Sid Nelson.

Wellens stated he would be ‘looking forward and not back’ in terms of a replacement for Broadbent, and that the Tranmere man did not fit into his plans.

Wellens said: “If there have been people in the past that I’ve worked with and done well, then maybe i’d sign them again.

“I’ve worked with Rob Hunt in the past, I’ve worked with Eoin Doyle in the past.

“They’re players that I know, and I think are good enough to step up to the level we’re playing at.

“There’s no point going back for someone if you don’t think they’re good enough.”