Michael Meaker says Tom Knighton's departure will not cause a mass exodus at Yate Town

First published in Yate and Sodbury Sport Gazette Series: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor covering the Thornbury, Dursley and Yate areas

YATE TOWN assistant manager Michael Meaker insists Tom Knighton's departure to Southern League Premier Division side Chippenham will not spark a mass exodus.

The Bluebells' run to the first round of the FA Cup has led to interest in some of their star men from clubs as high as Conference South and North and the loss of their leading scorer has caused fear amongst some fans that more will follow out of the exit door.

However, Meaker revealed that he and boss Rob Cousins have spoken to the players and they do not anticipate anyone else moving on in the near future.

He said: "Of course we're going to get interest from other clubs but hopefully the boys will stay here and push on.

"We've had lots of big clubs here watching players, but even if bids come in they want to stay.

"Tom went because they (Chippenham) offered him a lot more money and we couldn't cope with that, but we've got to move on without him and we proved on Saturday that we could do it."

Knighton, who joined Yate from local rivals Mangotsfield United in January, scored eight goals in 16 appearances this season, including one in each of the FA Cup ties against Blue Square Premier leaders Newport County that helped the club record the most famous win of their history and set up the first round trip to League Two side Cheltenham Town.

Former QPR and Reading striker Meaker replaced Knighton in the side that faced Hungerford in the Southern League Division One South and West clash last Saturday for his fourth start of the season and scored his first goal in the 4-2 win, while Ollie Barnes took over the penalty taking duties and scored from the spot.

Now 41-years-old, Meaker has no intention of slowing down his playing career and hopes to fill the breach following Knighton's exit.

He said: "I've got myself super fit this season and wanted to play more.

"I felt really good, scored a goal and proved I can still do it quite comfortably.

"Ollie was always going to score that penalty. He's that type of player and he's had a fantastic season."

Yate can move off the bottom of the table this Saturday with victory at Sholing, who are just one point above them in the table, and Meaker believes their second league win of the season over Hungerford, who were top before the game, could be the catalyst for a rapid rise.

He said: "It shows what a good side we are because we've just beat top of the league and quite comfortably.

"Every game's a challenge in this league. I think it's harder than the league above, especially with the money Hungerford have got.

"Everyone thinks because Yate got to the first round of the FA Cup we've got a big wage bill, but we haven't and even if we finish mid-table this year we've had a fantastic season.

"We've had a bad start, but this is our first season with our own players and we just need time and hopefully Yate will give us that."

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