Smith challenges his players to follow departed duos’ example

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Paul Smith has challenged his Wlasham-le-Willows squad to emulate Nathan Clarke and Jack Brame after the pair earned moves to Bury Town.

With pre-season looming, Smith is facing the fact that he will have to replace an influential part of last season’s side after losing 20-goal scorer Brame and centre-half Clarke to the Ryman League Premier Division Blues, following an impressive dual registration period between the sides for the pair last term.

It would appear to be a daunting prospect for the manager, but Smith has actually hailed the moves for his former stars and believes he has the resources already at the club to fill the void left by the departed duo.

“It is actually really pleasing to see Jack and Nathan going on to play at two leagues higher,” he said.

“It is always nice when you have brought players through the club to then see them go and progress.

“I always say I would never stand in any player’s way to go and play at a higher and I’m delighted for both of them.

“I look at it as an opportunity for other players here to follow in their footsteps and make that progression.

“In a way, it is a good advert for us and I am sure they will not be the last two players to progress like that.

“At the beginning of last season we lost Ollie Hughes and Jack stood up and took that challenge.

“When one door closes another opens, and for me that is now the challenge to others here.

“I definitely feel we have players here capable of doing that who have shown promise already and I’m hopeful there could be a number of real surprises in the side next season.”

Meanwhile, Smith has also conceded that he is uncertain on the future of midfielder Ryan Foster, who could also be set to depart the Willows, while an interest in rienforcements was also confirmed by the manager.

“We have not had the chance to speak to Ryan just yet and so we are not certain if he will be staying or going,” he added.

“We are definitely looking at a centre-half, midfielder and a striker and so hopefully we can add some fresh faces soon.”

n Walsham-le-Willows are looking to start a ladies’ team next season for 2014/15 and will be holding trials and training sessions on the following dates: Thursday, June 26 (7pm-9pm); Sunday, June 29 (7pm-9pm); and July 6 (10am-12pm).

The coach will be Luke Worley, who has eight years’ experience with ladies’ football, mainly in the USA.

He recently coached and managed at Loughborough, who achieved success with the team and got through to face Women’s Premier League side, Leeds United, in the Women’s FA Cup.

For more information, contact Worley on 07983 990185 or