Lancaster have bid farewell to striker Tom Kilifin who has chosen to drop two divisions to join Northwich Victoria.
Kilifin’s decision came as a surprise but Dolly Blues boss Mark Fell says there are no hard feelings – in fact the door remains open to him should things not work out.
The 26-year-old found the net 68 times in his various spells at Giant Axe, with him also having played for Kendal, Workington and Clitheroe.
Fell told the Guardian: “It is a surprise that Tom decided to leave.
“We spoke to every player at the end of the season and Tom indicated that he would be staying with us.
“However, we understand that it is a player’s market and players will get approached by other clubs.
“We are the same, we will approach players who can make us stronger.
“Tom is a great lad and has been at the club for a long time.
“Part of the thinking is that his work pattern affects his availability – he has to miss one Saturday in four and that is tough at this level.
“You want to get players in a rhythm and it is difficult when you have to miss games.
“We wanted to get Tom back scoring goals and were going to work with him.
“Then the approach came from Northwich and maybe he will more chance of playing regularly and getting among the goals by dropping down a couple of divisions.
“Tom has done this the right way, he sat down and talked it through.
“The door remains open for him if it doesn’t work out.
“We wish him all the best and I think he will do very well for Northwich.”
On the incoming front, Fell got two deals done last month with the signings of midfielder Niall Cowperthwaite and striker Jason Walker.
He has agreements in place for a goalkeeper and central defender, both of which will become effective on July 1.
Fell said: “We’ve got two lads coming in although at the moment I’m not going to say who because the moves don’t take effect until next month.
“In addition to those two deals and the signings of Niall and Jason, I’d probably like one more.
“We’ve kept the core of the squad together and have bene looking to build on it.
“You never know what might happen, two players might become available who you didn’t think would be.
“There’s the loan market too which is an option once you get closer to the start of the season.
“By then, players will have got an idea if they are going to be playing regularly at their clubs and might fancy coming here to play.
“There will be younger lads at Football League clubs who need to come out on loan to play games and we have got our network of contacts.”
Lancaster’s players return for pre-season training on June 29, that giving them a seven-week build-up to the new campaign.
Fell said: “The break has gone quickly and we’ve got three more weeks before we start training again.
“The lads will be getting their rest at the moment which is important.
“Our league doesn’t start until August 17 so we’ve got a good run at things in pre-season to get ready.”