Why striker Joe Iaciofano was allowed to leave Hawks and return to Oxford City

Paul Doswell has revealed striker Joe Iaciofano requested a move away from the Hawks to be closer to his Northampton family home.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 1:39 pm
Striker Joe Iaciofano in action for Hawks last season. Picture: Dave Haines

And the Hawks boss insisted he would have kept the forward at the club next season had he not asked to leave Westleigh Park.

Iaciofano last Friday completed a move Hawks’ divisional rivals Oxford City after his contract expired.

Some supporters took to social media to make their disappointment known that the striker, who arrived at the club last summer after jointly winning the National League South Golden Boot in 2019/20, had been allowed to leave after a shortened debut season.

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But Doswell addressed the reasoning behind Iaciofano's exit - stating he had approached him at the start of this year asking to be allowed to leave.

The former Northampton forward, 22, netted five times for the club in a pandemic-blighted 2021/22 - four of those goals coming in his first three appearances.

Yet Doswell revealed living in club accommodation and being unable to return home because of government restrictions had taken its toll on Iaciofano.

And the Hawks boss says it was the right call to respect his decision to let him leave.

Doswell said: ‘I think the supporters need to know this because I’ve seen a few comments on our Twitter suggesting he shouldn’t have been let go.

‘The pandemic had a massive effect on everyone at this football club, especially the four or five boys who were stuck in that house for nine months.

‘Joe had a conversation with me back in February saying that he was missing home, missing being with his family - I think everyone realised how important family was during the pandemic.

'He asked me if he could get a move close to home; to be honest, it was something that’s been in the frame since February or March.

‘Unless you’re in that Covid environment, unless you’ve been in that house and unable to move for months - he wasn’t allowed to go home - you don’t understand it.

‘It’s unfair for any of our supporters to question why he left. He left for absolutely the right reasons, which is family, and to be closer to home - I’ve got to say, a very, very good club as well.'

Hawks have recruited forwards James Roberts and Alex Wall, from Oxford City and Concord Rangers respectively, this summer prior to Iaciofano's exit being officially confirmed.

However, Doswell stressed the club only began pursuing alternatives after he had been made aware of the striker's wish to leave.

The Hawks boss added: 'I would have kept him, 100 per cent.

‘We signed him, he’s a terrific lad as well, and I know he’ll score goals - especially at this level.

‘To be honest, the reason we signed James Roberts and Alex Wall was because we knew he was going.

‘It wasn’t the case of the competition got too big for him, it was just these conversations took place months and months ago.’