Doswell tells Hawks fans after three players leave in 24 hours: This club is not going backwards

Moussa Diarra, left, in FA Cup action for Hawks against Cray Valley. Photo by Dave HainesMoussa Diarra, left, in FA Cup action for Hawks against Cray Valley. Photo by Dave Haines
Moussa Diarra, left, in FA Cup action for Hawks against Cray Valley. Photo by Dave Haines
Boss Paul Doswell told Hawks supporters not to panic following the departure of three squad members.

Defender Moussa Diarra, 30 rejoined former club Woking for a fee 'well in excess’ of £10,000 - he had only left the Surrey club on a free transfer last summer.

Youngsters Lucas Sinclair and Sam Dowdridge were released from their contracts less than 24 hours later.

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Like Diarra, both players had only arrived at Westleigh Park last summer.

Sinclair has been used mainly as a sub this season, while Dowridge has not featured at all - being sent out on loan to Isthmian League Premier Division Bognor Regis shortly after signing for Hawks.

Some supporters made their concerns known on social media when learning of the young pair’s exits so soon after Diarra had also left.

But Doswell said the Frenchman’s farewell was a 'no-brainer' amid the pandmic and the current National League South suspension.

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Returning to their family homes in the London area was a factor in Sinclair and Dowridge moving on.

‘I get that they (supporters) see people departing the club, but every departure is done for the right reasons,' Doswell remarked.

‘It was well in excess of a five-figure fee (for Moussa) and the saving of the wages over the next five months if we’re not playing - it was a very, very easy decision for everybody.

‘I just ask, certainly our supporters, this club is not going backwards - that’s what I’ve read - it’s not.

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‘The club is surviving, it’s going to get stronger out of it, and I think I trust myself and my staff to get the right players back in when the season restarts.'

Diarra’s departure leaves Hawks with only two recognised centre halves - Sam Magri and Craig Robson.

Magri, though, has filled in at right-back with Benny Read sidelined with an ongoing shoulder problem.

Diarra partnered Magri at the back when Hawks last played - a 2-1 league defeat at Bath City last Tuesday.

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Robson was unavailable for the trip to Twerton Park as he was self-isolating due to his partner testing positive for Covid.

Coach Simon Walton regularly played at centre half last season, but has appeared only once this term - in a 3-2 home loss to Hemel.

At present, Hawks’ FA Trophy last-16 tie against National League Notts County on Saturday, February 6 is scheduled to be their next game.

And Doswell could boost squad numbers for that tie, even though the South season is currently suspended.

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'I can’t believe that people just can’t wait and be patient and come next July - if that’s when we’re back - or even come February if we’re back for the Notts County game ... I’m already on the phone (about new players) for the Notts County game.

‘One of the things we don’t struggle with is bringing players to this football club, because it’s a really good club.'

Diarra, meanwhile, joins a Woking side who boast a good defensive record. He wasn’t involved in the squad which drew 0-0 at home to Maidenhead at the weekend - leaving the 15th-placed Cards having conceded only 18 goals in 17 National League fixtures, the best record of any team in the bottom half of the table.