LANCASTER City goalkeeper Martin Fearon has left the club.
Fearon has been a key figure for the Dolly Blues since he joined the club from Clitheroe in the summer of 2009 but City boss Tony Hesketh believes the stopper “needs a fresh challenge”.
He will be replaced by Squires Gate goalkeeper Neil Beesley, who returns to Giant Axe after a two-year absence.
Hesketh said: “I’ve spoken with Martin Fearon, he’s been with me for the past three years at Lancaster and was an ever-present last year I think.
“He’s an excellent athlete and a good goalkeeper so we wish him all the best.
“But he needs a fresh challenge and I think Martin himself will admit that he got a little bit stale last season.”
Beesley impressed when he deputised for Fearon in his final season at City and was an unused substitute when the Dolly Blues lost 1-0 to Colwyn Bay in the 2009/2010 play-off final at Giant Axe.
And Hesketh admits that Beesley was probably ahead of Fearon at that point after some good performances towards the end of the season, but he went back to his number one as he had served him well throughout the campaign.
He said: “To be honest, when ‘Tiny’ (Beesley) was here a couple of years ago he finished the season well and was probably just ahead, but we went back to Martin Fearon for the play-offs because he was our number one.
“The first-team football at Squires Gate will have helped his development and he’s now approaching his peak.
“He’ll bring much needed height and presence in defensive situations.”
The City boss also said he had spoken to senior players Ryan Elderton and Neil Marshall who told him they wanted to stay at the club next season, despite the reduction in the club’s wage budget.
A fans’ fund, set up in a bid to boost Hesketh’s spending power, has so far seen supporters commit around £450 a month.