Assistant manager John Rattle stressed that Burgess Hill Town have to ‘move on’ from Jamie Brotherton’s decision to reject the club in favour of near-neighbours Haywards Heath Town.
The Hillians announced last Saturday that the former Lewes and Three Bridges striker was set to move to the Green Elephants Stadium ahead of Hill’s 2019/20 Bostik South East campaign, but a remarkable turn of events saw the forward make the switch to Hanbury Park instead.
Rattle said: “He spoke to Simon Wormull (Hill boss) and he was happy to join us and then for some reason, and you’d have to ask him, he’s decided to join Haywards Heath.
“He told us he was joining and we thought he was happy but, for one reason or another, he’s decided to go to another club.
“It’s his decision. We have to respect that and we’ll move on.”
The news of the failed transfer has been off-set by the acquisition of defender Callum Donaghey from SCFL Premier Division side Horsham YMCA.
Donaghey had previously worked with Wormull at Lewes and Three Bridge, and Hill will be hoping he can improve a defence that conceded 91 goals in 42 league games as the Hillians were relegated from the Bostik Premier last season.
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Rattle added: “We knew that we were happy with the way Tolu (Jonah) had been playing on the left side of central defence.
“We knew we had to find someone to come in to play in that position alongside Tolu and Callum fits that role.
“He’s worked with Simon before so he was very keen to get him on board.
“Callum’s the type of centre-half we’ve been looking for. He’s a strong defender and a good communicator.”
Donaghey is the second new face to sign up for Hill during the off-season, along with ex-Heath forward Max Miller.
These signings coupled with the retention of ten Hillians players from last season, including captain Dan Beck and club legend Pat Harding, has left Rattle content with Hill’s squad building ahead of pre-season.
He added: “I think we’re happy with the players we’ve retained too. We had a few positions that we targetted and we filled those gaps with players that we want to come to Burgess Hill.”