MARK Harper admits he would love to bring Karle Carder-Andrews back to Hampton & Richmond Borough but cannot afford to.
It was only a year ago that Beavers boss Harper feared he would lose the former Brentford youngster to a bigger club as Hampton slid towards relegation from Blue Square South.
He was even linked with a move to ex-Beavers boss Alan Devonshire's Braintree in the Conference National, but instead found himself playing for Chipstead in Ryman One South last month.
Things didn't work out there, and Carder-Andrews (pictured) is just playing Sunday football at the moment, much to Harper's amazement.
He said: “Karle left as he just wanted games, and he didn't enjoy it at Chipstead, but he hasn't come back here. He's got bundles of ability and should be playing at a higher level.
“I don't have the cash to keep him on board. I would love to get him back here but it's a squeaky times of year budget-wise for a lot of clubs, not just ours, as you work out whether to splash out on one last push or save it for next season.”
Another former player who Hampton could see a lot sooner is Joe Benjamin, the striker who was released earlier this season and has just joined Saturday's opponents, Lowestoft, on dual registration from Billericay.
Harper said: “Joe is Joe – he's got good points and bad points like any non-league player. Players tend to come back and bite you on the bum when you release them like we did, but I'm sure our lads at the back will deal with Joe if he plays.”
The long trip to Suffolk comes off the back of a 1-1 draw with the Ryman Premier's form team, Concord Rangers – who have won 10 games and only lost twice since the turn of the year – on Tuesday night.
It was a tale of two penalties at Beveree, with Concord taking a first half lead after Billy Jeffries handled in area, but Charlie Moone levelling from the same spot after the break when his own shot was also stopped by a wayward hand.
Harper said: “Concord are on fire at the moment, so to come back from a goal down against them was pleasing, and hopefully we can take something from that. Their manager said to me afterwards what are we doing down in 14 th – and he's right, we shouldn't be.”
Meanwhile, with no spare Tuesday nights left in the fixture list, Hampton's postponed home game against Enfield Town last Saturday has been rearranged for Thursday, April 4.