Departing skipper Matt Richards is convinced Shrewsbury Town will continue to make steady progress in League One.
The midfielder was among the five casualties of Graham Turner’s end-of-term clear out at the Greenhous Meadow.
He has already held preliminary talks as he bids to find a new club – but he has stressed he will look back fondly at his two-year stint with Town.
After helping steer the club clear of relegation trouble on its return to the third tier after a 15-year absence, Richards believes the long-term ambition of securing a Championship place is possible if the club maintains prudent housekeeping.
The midfielder said: “Shrewsbury are not likely to deal out ridiculous amounts of money and put themselves in debt. They will progress and climb up the table. They are heading in the right direction, but it’s a long-term plan.
“When you consider other clubs like Portsmouth then that’s the best way. Portsmouth were playing in the Premiership only recently, but next season they will be in League Two.”
Richards, 28, made over a century of appearances during his stay in Shropshire and was garlanded with the player-of-the-season accolade during the 2011/2012 League Two promotion campaign. And he finished off as leading scorer last season with an eight-goal haul.
“It was a step up for the team and there were a lot of changes last summer so we knew it was going to be difficult. It was an up-and-down season and we probably should have done a bit better, but you have to take the positives out of it. The aim was to maintain our League One status,” he added.
“It was an honour to lead the team out and to help the lads out as much as I could.
“It was disappointing not to be offered a deal, but that’s football and I’m old enough to accept that and move on.
“I enjoyed my time at Shrewsbury – it was a great club to play for. I’ve come back down south to stay with my family and I’m enjoying having a break.
“I’ve moved around before and hopefully I can get something sorted out sooner rather than later.
“I’ve had discussions with one or two clubs but it’s very early days – the play-offs haven’t finished yet.”