Goalkeeper Danny Roberts has left Belper Town to join Evo-Stik League South Division rivals Leek Town.
Leek had expressed an interest in the stopper shortly after their visit to the Marston’s Stadium on 23rd December, leaving with a 2-1 win.
Nailers boss Aaron Webster said he did all he could to keep Roberts but felt location played a part with Leek based closer to his home.
And after the match just before Christmas Webster was left fearing he could lose what he described as ‘the best goalkeeper in the division’.
“As soon as they put seven days’ notice in for him and I heard it was Leek I was fearing the worst as the location is a lot better for him,” said Webster.
“As soon as I came in I saw how much of a class act he is and I tried to look after him as much as possible.
“Danny was travelling with the joint managers before but he’s been travelling by himself lately so I thought it could have been on the cards.
“I wasn’t surprised they came in for him. He’d made some really great saves against them.”
And added: “We’ll miss him. He’s one of two stand out goalkeepers at this level from what I have seen. Danny’s played higher and I believe he still has aspirations to do that
“I made him a better offer to try to keep hold of him. I did all I could to try and keep him but I knew I was fighting a losing battle with Leek. We couldn’t match them on location.
“I think he was enjoying it under me but he’s got a good deal with Leek I imagine, he’ll be travelling less and that was always going to be going against us.”
Webster says he has irons in the fire and is hopeful of bringing in a replacement ahead of Belper’s trip to rock bottom Peterborough Sports on Saturday.
“I’ve been offered a few in the past but at the time I had the best goalkeeper in the league,” he said. “Now they’re phone calls I’m making.
“I’ve kept an eye on them and one might come in from a pro club.
“It’s not ideal preparation, but it’s football. Lads can go at this level when seven days’ notice has been put in so it can be all change.
“This time it has happened to us. It’s not ideal but I’ll be working to get someone in before Saturday.”