Scarborough Athletic have been hit by a blow just days away from the beginning of the Evo-Stik North campaign.
Defender Ben Middleton has departed for Ossett Town, who are managed by former Boro assistant John Reed.
Boro chief Rudy Funk is less than happy with Middleton’s decision to leave Queensgate ahead of Saturday’s big opener at Salford City and Tuesday night’s home game against Harrogate Railway.
He said: “I was shocked and disappointed when Ben told me he was leaving.
“He came here as a young lad, we have given him our guidance, effort and money and we were sure that he would have been one of our starlets in the future.
“We are hugely disappointed that Ben has moved on, but now we have to focus on the players that want to do a job for this club.”
Apart from Middleton, Funk will have everyone available for Saturday’s trip to Salford.
“Everyone is ready, fit, well and raring to go,” he added.
“We secured a decent finish of seventh in the southern division last year, but this time we have an exciting season ahead of us as we will come up against some fantastic sides.
“There has been a lot of talk about Salford because of the star names in their camp.
“The Class of 92 who now run the club are highly regarded in our sport and we acknowledge them for that, but at 3pm on Saturday we are in direct competition with them, let battle commence.”
Funk is in positive mood heading into the new campaign and he feels he has plenty of people to thank for that.
He said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to my chairman and the rest of the board, who have been absolutely fantastic.
“Without their backing and support I don’t think we’d be where we are today.
“People always talk about supporters at their club, but I have to say what a great bunch we have here at Scarborough.
“They have embraced our new players in pre-season and they tell you their views from the heart.
“Some 99.9 per cent of that is positive and the feedback I am getting tells me that they can’t wait for the season to start as well.