LES JONES insists the door will remain open to striker Matt Pinder, despite his shock departure from Pershore Town.
Pinder has ended a 14-month spell with the Plums by switching to West Midlands League Premier Division neighbours Littleton.
Pershore boss Jones recently added former Bromsgrove Sporting and Alvechurch forward Andy Nicol, recruited from Northfield Town, but Pinder’s exit was a surprise.
He was top scorer last season – netting 16 in 20 matches – and despite being in and out of the Plums’ line-up this term he has scored seven in 14.
“It’s been a frustrating season for Matt but it’s disappointing he has decided to move on,” said Jones, who had recruited the goal-getter from Malvern Town when he took over in the autumn of 2018.
“Matt wasn’t quite fit at the start of the season so he was on the bench. Then he got into the team and was scoring goals but he was involved in a car crash a few weeks ago.
“Andy came in but then Littleton approached Matt. It’s a shame but the door will always be open to him.”
Pershore will also still be without forward Jamie Clarke, who has been away for the past fortnight, for Saturday’s trip to Wem Town but he is expected to be available for Tuesday night’s home clash with fourth-placed Wolverhampton Casuals.
The Plums, who sit eighth in the table, will be keen to bounce back to winning ways against lowly Wem, having earned a last-minute equaliser in last week’s 2-2 draw at home to Worcester Raiders.
Dan Noke gave Town the lead after quarter of an hour, only for Raiders to edge ahead with two quickfire goals midway through the second period through Ryan Rowe and former Pershore player Zaq Hussain.
Substitute James Unwin lashed home a stunning 20-yard leveller when a corner was half cleared and Town had late efforts for a winner thwarted.
“There was a real elation after scoring a late equaliser,” said Jones, “But really the draw did neither team a favour in the battle for promotion. We both needed to win.
“We had enough chances in the first half to have put the game to bed but in the second half Raiders dominated the first 25 minutes and deservedly went into the lead.
“We kept plugging away and I was delighted with the effort the lads put in.”
Pershore were not helped by goalkeeper Matt Gwynne picking up a thigh muscle injury early on and despite battling on he had to depart in the final 15 minutes as youth-teamer Ciaran McGee took over.
Gwynne will face a fitness test before the trip to Wem, while left-back Jordan Hayward is hoping to get the all-clear to start his comeback after a knee problem when he sees a specialist tomorrow (Friday).