Jake Kirby: Stockport winger to step away from football

Jake Kirby in action for Tranmere Rovers
Jake Kirby started his career at Tranmere Rovers

Stockport County winger Jake Kirby has decided to step away from football.

The 25-year-old helped the club win the National League North title last season and has played eight times this term.

"There has been no simple or singular reason for Jake's recent decision, just a strong feeling for change," boss Jim Gannon told the club website.

"We have talked over the situation extensively and were happy to support him fully in his decision to leave football at this point."

He added: "For whatever reason, or circumstance people find themselves in, it is not for us to seek to fully understand or solve, but simply to listen and support and help them find the right way for themselves.

"It is difficult to express all the emotions you go through for either party in such difficult discussions, but suffice to say that I felt more and more comfortable with Jake's decision as I saw the tension being relieved with him letting go, and sensed his excitement of what is to come in the future."

Stockport have signed Joe Leesley, also 25, on loan from Harrogate Town until January and he will take the number 11 shirt.

Kirby, whose contract at Edgeley Park was due to expire at the end of this season, began his career at Tranmere and moved to Stockport in the summer of 2018 following a loan spell with the Hatters four years ago.

"I have opted to terminate my contract and look at other options," he said.

"It has been a tough decision, but I feel this is the right thing to do."