SAM Ives, one of Graham Drury’s first signings since his return to Stamford last month, has left before kicking a ball in Stamford colours.
Ives leaves the Daniels by mutual consent to join higher league Kettering Town.
In statement issued this morning, Stamford confirmed: “Sam has received a very good offer from a club higher up the football pyramid and Stamford have agreed to let him leave, in order to progress his career.”
Manager Graham Drury said: “I’m disappointed that we have had to say goodbye to Sam already because I was looking forward to working with him again.
“He leaves with our best wishes because it is a good opportunity for him and one we wouldn’t stop a player from taking.
“Sam kept me fully informed regarding the opportunity and we will never stand in the way of any player who gets the chance to better themselves.
“He’s agreed a two-year contract and will be playing full-time. That isn’t something we can compete with; I always thought he’d be a player that could use the chance at Stamford to show people what he could do. And if he did that, it could lead to a move back up the levels. I just didn’t expect it would happen this quickly.
Rebuilding his side from scratch, Drury has assembled a 16-strong squad and added: “It’s a bit of a blow because I had high expectations for him but on the other hand I think it shows where we are as a club right now.
“I’ve had good chats with a couple of players that we were close to signing but in the end they have been given opportunities with Blue Square Bet Premier teams.
“We have also now missed out on Sam because he’s been given the chance to play at a level higher than we could offer him but it’s a sign of respect of what we are looking to build here that those players were prepared to enter into serious conversations with us.
“I have told Sam if it doesn’t work out for him as planned, he knows where I am.
“We have some very good players at this club and competition is going to be tough. The fact he has moved on means that there is a chance for one of the younger players to step up a bit earlier than we were perhaps expecting but I am confident it is a chance that someone will grab during pre-season.
“Things are progressing well and I can’t wait another couple of weeks for the players to report back. The sooner we can start working with them as a group the better.
“There are still a couple of areas I’m looking at strengthening and I am hoping we might add a couple more faces to the squad before the players report back.”
* STAMFORD’s pre-season friendlies begin with the Wilf Notley Cup at Bourne on Tuesday, July 17.