TONY Gore says Matt Hearsey’s departure represents an opportunity for Dudley Sports’ other strikers.

Hitman Hearsey, who attracted attention from a host of clubs after scoring 20 goals in just 26 games this season, completed a move to Welsh Premier League outfit Newtown last week.

While admitting he was disappointed to lose the player, joint-boss Gore says Sports should not be regarded as a one-man team.

His mood was also improved by the return of frontman Craig Tibbetts to full fitness.

Gore said: “Other people have got to step up now. We have not been a one man team all season, though Matt has played a huge part.

“Craig Tibbetts has just come back into the squad and we have the likes of Mark Gore, Dean Williams and Josh Taylor.

“All of them have chipped in with their share of goals and now have a chance to cement a place in the side.”

Hearsey had originally turned down an offer from Newtown but reconsidered, after the Welsh club allayed his concerns over travel.

Gore, who has seen the 21-year-old turn down several offers from neighbouring clubs, said he was leaving with everyone’s best wishes.

He said: “He has gone with our blessing, he has been fantastic for us over the last couple of seasons.

“It’s a big opportunity for him, a step up and we wish him all the best.

“His first game for them last Saturday would have been on television had it not been called off and I guess that’s the difference.”

He added: “He turned them down to start with because he was worried about the travelling.

“But they came back in for him and worked something out.

“Of course it is disappointing to lose a player of his calibre but when lads get offers like this you can’t stand in their way. It’s not like he has left for a club at the same level, he is making the step up.

“We must be doing something right if other clubs are interested in our players.”

Hearsey proposed debut for the Welsh side, at Carmarthen Town, fell foul of the weather.

It was, unsurprisingly, the same story in the West Midlands League Premier Division as Sports’ home clash with Black Country Rangers was postponed, along with Dudley Town’s trip to Bustleholme.

Sports are scheduled to visit Bromyard Town this Saturday, while Town host Shifnal Town.