Phil Barnes has moved to reassure Holbeach United fans after losing another key player to a rival.
The Tigers chief is rueing the departure of striker Johnny Lockie, who has joined UCL Premier Division North newboys Skegness Town – who they will visit on the opening day of the new season on Wednesday, August 4.
Speedy striker Lockie, who came through the ranks at Spalding United, is the latest player to exit the Carter’s Park club this summer following Josh Ford, Jon Fairweather, Adam Jackson, Spencer Tinkler and Jack Withers.
That player shortage, coupled with unavailability, led Holbeach to regretfully call off their pre-season game at Wisbech Town on Saturday.
But boss Barnes, who has already signed midfielder Aaron Eyett, is hoping that he could have as many as four new signings to announce by this time next week.
“Losing Johnny was a bit of a shock,” admitted Barnes. “He was very much a part of my plans and I was counting on him for the coming season.
“But I got a call from him out of the blue saying that Skegness had made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“Pre-season can often be hard and players often move on, which is perhaps even more the case this summer due to the massive break because of the pandemic.
“But to lose so many important players has been a bit of a disappointment and I can understand that some fans may have questions.
“What I will say is that we have four players coming to training this week and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to announce new signings soon. They are all saying the right things and I’m confident they’ll all be good signings for us, if we can get them over the line.”
Barnes also expressed his remorse for having to postpone on Wisbech on Saturday. He made a late call to cancel the clash, which he accepts isn’t good form and offered his apologies to Fenmen chief Brett Whaley.
But Barnes felt he had to look after the interests of his own side.
“We only had 13 players available and only a couple of them have UCL experience. I feel like we’d have taken a bit of a heavy beating and it would have done us no good at all. I’d have been angry if another team had done that to us, but we had to think of ourselves and be selfish.”
The Tigers are back in pre-season action at Swaffham Town on Saturday (3pm) and visit March Town the following Tuesday.