GOAL machine Ashley Stevens will play no part in Holbeach United’s run-in after being released by boss John Chand.
The 25-goal striker, who has made 40 appearances for the Tigers since signing from Wisbech Town in the summer, was no longer guaranteed a starting spot at Carter’s Park.
With Liam Nimmo returning to the club and Andrew Tidswell, Ollie Ryan and Tommy Treacher already on the books, Chand admitted he had to let somebody go.
Showing Stevens the door is a bold move, with his goals helping fire the Tigers to third in the UCL Premier Division and a Lincs FA Senior Trophy final.
The ex-Deeping Rangers hitman played no part in last night’s UCL League Cup semi-final defeat against St Ives Town – and with the UCL ‘transfer window’ closing on Saturday, he faces a race against the clock to find a new team.
“I’ve not got a bad word to say about Ash,” admitted Chand. “But it’s got to a stage in the season where I can’t offer him a regular start and I felt I had too many strikers.
“I had to be fair to Ash and couldn’t keep them all, so a tough decision had to be made.
“Ash was outstanding for us and scored a lot of goals, but I felt I couldn’t part with any of the other four.
“I couldn’t have let someone like Tommy Treacher go, I wouldn’t want to lose him for the world. He’s got a great attitude and gives you 125 per cent every time he’s on the field.”
While Stevens departs Carter’s Park, two new faces have signed up. Keeper Ricky Drury has joined on a short-term deal from Boston United, with regular number one Leigh Overton deemed in need of a rest.
An experienced defender is also expected to join, although Chand was unable to reveal his identity as we went to press.
Both were set to feature against St Ives last night and should be available for Saturday’s home tie with lowly Desborough Town – kicking off at the earlier time of 2.30pm.
Ar Tarn come into the game in the bottom three, but have managed three wins from their last five games.
Chand added: “I felt Leigh needed a bit of a break and Ricky was available after leaving Quorn, so it made sense.
“His kicking and distribution is superb and he’s a quality keeper.
“Desborough have had some cracking results lately. I think they’ve made a few changes and it has paid off. But if we have any aspirations of finishing high in the table, this is a game we have to win.”