Bury Town’s squad overhaul has continued with the departure of Nathan Clarke, who has returned to Walsham-le-Willows in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.
The 26-year-old centre-half cited work and travelling commitments as his reason to leave the Blues.
Manager Ben Chenery moved quickly to replace him with former Billericay Town defender David Femiola before Saturday’s 1-1 draw at AFC Hornchurch in the Ryman League Premier Division.
“The travelling side of things got to me,” said Clarke. “Because of the way things are at Bury, their hands are tied with (financial) restrictions.
“If I could afford to have Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning off work then things could have been different, but you have to look after yourself.”
The ex-AFC Sudbury and Needham Market man joins ex-Bury striker Jack Brame back at Summer Road, while former Bury Town midfielder Craig Nurse has signed for the Willows on a one-month loan deal from Mildenhall Town, prompting Clarke to talk up Walsham’s chances of a good finish this season.
“I’m hoping for a top-four finish with the squad we’ve got,” he said.
Back at Bury, winger Jordan Patrick has returned from travelling and made an immediate impact, according to Chenery, whose side host East Thurrock United tomorrow (3pm).
After impressing on Saturday, Patrick scored as Bury let their grip on the Suffolk Premier Cup slip in a 3-2 defeat at Leiston — where former manager Richard Wilkins is now assistant.
Although Femiola and Patrick have bolstered the fourth-bottom Blues’ ranks, joining Clarke through the Ram Meadow exit door this week were young midfielder Ross Bailey, who has joined Mildenhall Town on a month’s loan; Nuno Sousa, who is returning to Portugal; and Ipswich Town loanee Jack Willbye, although discussions are taking place about the possibility of the midfielder — who missed Bury’s last two games through illness — returning.
Luke Hammond has signed dual registration terms with Hadleigh United.
Along with those departures, Chenery has several injury concerns ahead of tomorrow’s home league game against East Thurrock United (3pm).
Justin Miller (Achilles) and Billy Clark (knee) are long-term absentees, while Liam Wales (hamstring) is out for another three weeks.
Player-assistant manager Russell Short (ankle) and captain Seb Dunbar (hamstring) are also nursing knocks, as are John Kennedy (knee), Remi Garrett (groin), Kye Ruel (ankle) and Connor Hall (hips).
Chenery, whose side have played twice a week every week since the start of the season, said: “We’ve played too many games in the Ryman League for me — you are playing an awful lot of games in a short space of time.”