EFE Sodje’s five-year spell at Bury looks to be over after manager Kevin Blackwell confirmed the popular defender had been loaned to Macclesfield until the end of the season.

The 40-year-old centre-back, who has made 205 appearances and scored 14 times for Bury, was left out of the squad that drew 0-0 at Shrewsbury Town today.

And Blackwell later revealed he would officially complete the move to Moss Rose on Monday.

With Sodje’s contract at Gigg Lane running out at the end of the season, the Bury boss admitted it could well herald the end of his association with the Shakers.

“It’s always difficult for a manager to tell someone that their last game has been played for a club, or they are getting towards the end of their career, and they don’t like you to tell them that,” he said.

“Efe has got such a belief that he thinks he can keep going and I admire him for that, but sometimes, as a manager, you have to make a decision for your team, and I have had to make this decision for Bury Football Club.

“We’ve not kept many clean sheets this year and we’ve got to try and turn things around and that’s what I will try and do.”

Sodje initially joined Bury on a temporary deal on Valentine’s Day in 2008, but went on to become a mainstay in Alan Knill’s side.

After helping to steer the club away from the very real prospect of relegation from the Football League, he eventually played an important part in their promotion from League Two in 2011.

Despite turning 40 this year, the former Nigeria international, who has nine caps for his country, said at the start of this season he felt he had another five years left in him.

However, this move to Blue Square Bet Premier side Macclesfield, one of 10 Football League sides he has represented, may well herald the end of an 18-year career, at least in league football.

But Blackwell added: “One never knows. For a lad that’s 40 years of age and still playing professional football, you’ve got to take your hat off to him - every credit to him.”