STRIKER Ben Wright has left the Hawks for Maidenhead United by mutual consent, after agreeing to tear up his two-year deal at Westleigh Park.
The striker arrived last December from Conference National Eastleigh, but after an initial flourish the goals dried up.
With the arrival of three new forwards over the summer – Marvin Morgan, Matt Paterson and James Hayter – it was inevitable that players would be leaving.
Wright is the first casualty from last season’s strike force, while it seems highly likely that JJ Hooper – who was on trial with Scottish Cup winners Inverness Caledonian Thistle last weekend – will also be on his way, too.
Assistant manager Shaun Gale admitted it was inevitable that the Hawks would freshen things up after a lack of goals almost derailed their 2014-15 play-off bid.
‘Once we brought in three new strikers it was always on the cards that players would leave,’ said Gale.
‘It is impossible to run with six strikers so some sacrifices have to be made.
‘Ben has been fantastic for us and as good as gold.
‘To be fair, he did well to start with but he picked up a couple of knocks which didn’t help him.
‘He never did a lot wrong but in the end it was a lack of goals that cost him.
‘Maybe the way we played at times didn’t suit.
‘That’s football and as a management team we sometimes have to make big decisions.’
Wright is likely to find himself lining up against the Hawks next season as he teams up again with Maidenhead United’s new manager, Alan Devonshire.
The 26-year-old has played for the ex-West Ham United legend twice before at Hampton & Richmond Borough and Braintree Town.
‘Maidenhead know they are getting a player who has scored goals throughout his career and their manager knows him well,’ added Gale.
Hooper is out of contract, and although offered a deal at Westleigh Park he looks likely to be the next player to move out.
Last Saturday he scored in Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s 3-0 friendly win over Clachnacuddin.
The fate of third striker, Shamir Mullings, is also to be decided, although it is likely the Hawks will look to keep him.
Youngster Mullings did well last season, mainly as an impact player coming off the substitutes’ bench.
His work-rate was impressive and he provided a physical presence in the later stages of games.
Like his fellow strikers, however, he didn’t always display the necessary composure in front of goal.
Gale said: ‘Sham is a young lad still learning his game.
‘He could benefit tremendously from working alongside the three experienced strikers we have brought in.’
The Hawks start their pre-season preparations away to Horndean next Monday (7.45pm).