Crawley have released defender Connor Essam as boss John Gregory makes room to reinforce his squad on transfer deadline day.

Essam made just 12 appearance for Reds following his arrival from Gillingham in January 2013 and was clearly not part of Gregory's plans.

The 22-year-old did not feature at all since Gregory took over at the Stadium in November and often failed to make the matchday squad.

Essam, who had a loan spell at Dartford last season, was behind Joe Walsh, Sonny Bradley and Dean Leacock in the pecking order for the two central defensive positions.

He tweeted that it was time to seek a "fresh challenge" after his contract - which ran until the end of the season - was cancelled by mutual consent and is expected to find a new club by the end of the day.

Gregory is keen to strengthen his squad after four consecutive defeats and had little option but to move someone out before bringing new faces in.

Essam's departure does make it less likely that Reds will cash in on prize asset Walsh, however, as that would leave them short of cover in central defence.