Farnborough boss Spencer Day admitted he faced his most challenging pre-season ever after the sudden departure of popular captain Alan Inns left him with a defensive dilemma to start the summer with.
Experienced Inns shocked Day this week by turning his back on a new deal at Cherrywood Road to team up with good friend Tommy Williams, who has just taken over as manager of Ryman Premier side Kingstonian.
And with the likes of Adam Doyle, Alfred Bosch and Josh Huggins not expected to don the yellow and blue again next season, Day has been left with an early summer player crisis – and next to no money to try to avert it.
Inns, the former AFC Wimbledon and Woking skipper, proved a huge hit with Boro fans throughout two turbulent Conference South campaigns which saw the club plagued by a combination of points deductions, administration and big name departures.
In fact, the bearded warrior had no fewer than seven centre-back partners last season – an issue which Day set about addressing last week when agreeing a deal to bring Staines Town captain Lewis Ferrell to the club, on Inns’ recommendation.
Now, with Doyle expected to retire from football to concentrate on his work career, Bosch having moved back to his native Spain and player of the year Huggins expected to complete a move to big spenders Havant & Waterlooville, Day has been left with a skeleton back line on which to form the basis of next season – and he knows he’s in for a rough ride.
“It’s now the most challenging pre-season I’ve ever had,” the Boro chief admitted.
“There is a huge amount that still needs spending on the infrastructure of the club and I don’t know what little money I have to spend on budgets, etc.
“We are currently appealing a £5,000 fine from the FA over the Reece Connolly drug test fiasco and until the results of that are revealed we won’t know anything.
“I did not want to leave it so late in pre-season to piece together a squad but I don’t have much of a choice.
"Still, I’m not duly concerned, I’ve got half a squad of quality players, we are looking at several others and with the infrastructure of the club looking more encouraging all the time, Farnborough FC remains an attractive proposition.”
And of the departure of his captain, Day added: “I’m disappointed, naturally, but I'm not angry. I’ve got nothing but praise for Alan Inns, him leaving is just one of those things that happen in football.
“Innsy's been a fantastically loyal servant for this club on less money than he could have earned elsewhere and I didn't want to lose him.
"But he felt he needed a new challenge with Tommy and I accept that. Typically, he’s been a gentleman about it. There is nothing sinister to it and he leaves with all of our best wishes.”
Inns’ departure means Day may now step up his bid to lure Dean Inman back to Cherrywood Road, from Hayes & Yeading, while a free-scoring striker from a Step 4 club is already waiting in the wings to join before the summer.
Day explained: “Yes, Inman is still a target but he’s on holiday and remains a Hayes & Yeading player.
“They are in the process of appealing their relegation from Conference South so it’s still very much up in the air. We’ve got bigger things to deal with right now.”