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Page last updated at 17:03 GMT, Friday, 7 March 2003

Whitley leaves Maine Road

Jeff Whitley is leaving Manchester City
Jeff Whitley is now a free agent in the search for new club

Northern Ireland international Jeff Whitley is leaving Manchester City by mutual consent.

The midfielder was released from his contract by the Premiership side whom he turned professional for back in 1996.

The Zambia-born 24-year-old came through the youth ranks at Maine Road, but has not played for City since breaking his ankle against Norwich back in August 2001.

He was loaned out to Notts County in March 2002, helping them avoid relegation.

He was told by City boss Kevin Keegan that he did not feature in his future plans.

Whitley returned to Meadow Lane on loan in October last year, but headed back to Maine Road and the reserves at the end of January.

A statement from the club said:

"An agreement has today been reached between Manchester City and Jeff Whitley, that his contract and registration with the club will be cancelled with immediate effect.

"Having not featured in the Manchester City team for some time, the decision has been made in the interest of Jeff's career.

''To enhance his prospects of finding a new club and offering the chance of more regular first-team football, he will be freed by Manchester City and assume unattached player status."