GRAYS Athletic midfielder Glenn Poole is set to retire at the end of the season.

Poole, who also works as a coach within Jamie Stuart’s managerial set-up at Parkside, is highly-regarded in non-league football having enjoyed an extensive career since coming through Tottenham Hotspur’s youth system.

But Poole believes that now is the right time to hang up his boots.

The 37-year-old, who joined Grays from Thurrock earlier in the season, said: “It isn’t a decision I have rushed into because I have been thinking about it for a while.

“It’s been a broken season for me because I was diagnosed with shingles in pre-season and then I lost both of my nans, which resulted in me taking time off.

“It has been a testing season and I have not started as many games as I would have wanted to.

“I’m not the sort of player that is happy with just coming on for 20 minutes.

“I wanted to do everything on my terms and, to be honest, I’m not enjoying it as much.

“But I always said I would retire when I wasn’t a regular and so I think it’s the right time to hang up my boots.”

While Poole is currently on the Grays coaching staff, he feels he may take some time away from the sport when the season ends.

“At the moment, whether I will stay on the coaching staff isn’t in my thoughts,” admitted Poole.

“I have enjoyed 21 years as a player and I feel like a break will do me good.”

While Poole has enjoyed spells with the likes of Brentford, AFC Wimbledon and Barnet, the midfielder has also had three stints at Grays and Thurrock.

Poole won the FA Trophy in his first spell with Grays, while he also won promotion to the Isthmian Premier League - via the play-offs - with Fleet last term.

And Poole says he will look back on his time with both clubs fondly.

Poole added: “I feel nothing but fondness for Grays and Thurrock.

“The first time at Thurrock was amazing because I went there and scored 13 goals. We were unlucky not to get into the play-off final that year.

“I went to Grays and that first year was the best year I’ve had in football.

“But last year, with Thurrock, was also one of the most enjoyable seasons during my career.

“I was one of the more experienced players in the group and I was playing with some well-mannered young players, which you don’t find very often now.

“The way we got promoted, in the play-offs, was special.”

However, one game in particular stands out in Poole’s extensive career.

The midfielder confirmed: “The FA Trophy final is the game that springs to mind as my favourite.

“It was a major final, on the TV, and it was special for me because it was played at the Boleyn Ground and a lot of my friends are West Ham United fans. My family was there too.

“I felt the pressure because I was the top goalscorer, but I scored and we beat Woking 2-0.

“It was always a dream of mine to win the FA Trophy because it’s the pinnacle of non-league football.”