YATE TOWN boss Rob Cousins will strive to keep the rest of his squad together until the end of the season after losing both Adnan Hiroli and James Harmer.
Hiroli, who can play up front or on the wing, has joined local Southern League Division One South & West rivals Mangotsfield United in a bid to play more regular football, while midfielder Harmer has left the club for personal reasons after being unavailable for the last month.
Yate’s run to the first round of the FA Cup and an impressive unbeaten league streak, which currently stands at nine games, to lift them from the bottom of the table to the top half has put several players in the shop window, with leading goalscorer Matt Groves rumoured to be attracting interest from bigger clubs.
However, the club have received no offers for their star man yet.
“Tyrone Mings (former Yate defender) was given a chance (at Ipswich) and we rate Matt Groves even better,” said Cousins.
“He should be playing higher and I’m sure people are watching, but we’ve had nothing official come through.
“He’s enjoying playing football for myself and (assistant manager) Michael Meaker so at the moment he’s happy and I’m glad he’s still with us.”
The signings of Geraint Bater, Tom Seery and Scott Wilson and the emergence of former Lyon youth player Ibu Sarr has increased competition for places, but with at least 24 games still left to play before the end of April, including next Wednesday’s GFA Senior Cup tie at Bristol Rovers (7.30pm), Cousins insists he is looking to add to his squad rather than trim it.
He said: “It took us some time to get the quality of squad we’ve got at the moment and we want competition for places. “We’ve proved in recent months that we’re good enough to compete with most teams in the league.
“We’re always on the lookout for the right people to add strength to the squad and we don’t want to leave ourselves short between now and the end of the season.”
Hiroli and Harmer both played their part in Yate’s historic FA Cup run.
Former Bristol Rovers youngster Hiroli, who joined the club in the summer, set-up both goals in the shock 2-1 win over Oxford City and his header onto the bar in the famous triumph at Newport County was followed up by Scott Thomas to give Yate the lead in extra time.
He came on as a substitute in the first round defeat at Cheltenham and started the first game against Newport at Lodge Road before being brought off with Yate trailing 1-0 in a tactical change during the first half, with Harmer coming on to help turn the tie on its head before it ended 3-3.
Former Newport youngster Harmer made his debut as a substitute against Oxford City and started the replay against his former club and at Cheltenham.
Cousins said: “Adnan came into the category where he wasn’t a regular starter but he was a valuable member of the squad.
“He wanted regular football, but we obviously couldn’t guarantee that. He’s a great lad, works hard for the team and we wanted to keep him. “We wish him all the best but we can’t keep everyone happy.”
Yate’s home clash against Tiverton last Saturday and their away game at Shortwood on Tuesday were both postponed due to waterlogged and frozen pitches respectively.
Cousins has a full squad to choose from for the trip to Abingdon United this Saturday.