HAMPTON & Richmond Borough boss Mark Harper has given up hope of luring former skipper Dean Wells back to the club.
Wells was jailed earlier this year for his part in a brawl between Brentford and Leyton Orient fans at Liverpool Street station two years ago, but was released last month.
Both Harper and his predecessor in the Hampton hotseat, Alan Devonshire, said they would welcome Wells back once he had served his time.
However, the former Brentford centre-back has been turning out for Hampton's Blue Square South rivals, Staines Town, for the past few weeks, and now looks set to join Braintree.
And while Harper admitted he was disappointed Wells chose not to return to the club who stood by him, he understands him wanting to make a fresh start.
Harper said: “I called to see how he was going but got no answer, and next thing I know he has signed for Staines. I'm not sure he'll be there for long though as Dev has put in a seven-day approach at Braintree. I thought he might come back to the club who stuck by him, but if he wants to test himself elsewhere, that's his choice.”
The club could also lose another defender in Dean Inman soon. The young prospect, who has been courted by QPR since the summer, has a trial with a Football League club the week after next.
But Dan Thompson, who has been on trial with Stoke and QPR, and been watched by Liverpool and Crystal Palace, is going nowhere for now.
Harper said: “Dean has been out with a knock, but has another trial with a pro club lined up, while Dan has been around a lot of clubs, but just wants to get himself settled and start scoring goals.”
Hampton, who went down 1-0 at Dorchester on Saturday, moved out of the relegation zone with a 2-0 win at Maidenhead on Tuesday night, thanks to second half strikes from Dave Tarpey and Nathan Collier.
They host fellow strugglers Thurrock tomorrow, and all children under the age of 12 will be admitted free if accompanied by an adult, who can pay a concessionary rate of £3.