GORDON Bartlett has been priced out of a permanent move for Braintree Town goalkeeper Ashlee Jones.
The Wealdstone boss brought Jones to Grosvenor Vale in March as cover for Jonathan North who suffered a double leg break at Canvey Island.
Jones filled the void admirably and made 11 appearances as the Stones suffered play-off semi-final heartbreak against Lowestoft earlier this month.
North was given an initial estimate of one year to recover from his horror injury and although he is making good progress, it is unlikely he will be fit until Christmas at the earliest.
Bartlett has told the Observer he would like to hang on to Jones but concedes the Stones are finding it difficult to meet the much-travelled shot-stopper’s demands.
“We’ve got to get a keeper,” said Bartlett. “Jonathan North was told he’d be out for a year and as far as I’m concerned he is making good progress, but no date has even been thought of yet. What I do know is that he will not be back in August, and we need a keeper in August.
“I don’t think Ashlee will be at Braintree next season and he is keen to stay here but I think our financial position is making that difficult. We are monitoring the situation at the moment but I think the offer I’ve made him falls short of what he is looking for.”
The Wealdstone manager has already started looking elsewhere for a new number one and admits the injured North will have to fight to reclaim the gloves when he returns.
“I’ve spoken to a couple of others,” revealed Bartlett. “We’re not going to bust a gut. When the right one becomes available at the right price then we’ll do it, there’s plenty of time – no need to panic.
“Jonathan has been outstanding but Sean Thomas was outstanding before him. Jonathan came in when Sean got an injury and we thought it was going to be short-term but Sean lost his place. Whenever you bring somebody in, you don’t know what’s going to happen. We wish Jonathan well and hope he’s back soon battling for his place.”
Meanwhile, as a thank you to the club’s fans for their great support throughout the past season, Wealdstone have announced a price-freeze on season-ticket prices for the 2012/13 campaign.
Supporters who purchase a season-ticket before the end of June will receive an ‘early bird’ discount rate. All enquiries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org