St Neots Town’s battle for Southern League Premier Division survival appears to have been dealt a major blow by the departure of leading scorer James Hall.

Saints announced earlier today (Thursday) that they have terminated the contract of the 15-goal frontman, who joined last summer.

New manager Matt Clements told the Hunts Post earlier this week that he would do all he could to keep Hall at the Premier Plus Stadium.

But the striker's deal has now been cancelled with immediate effect and a number of other Step 3 clubs are understood to be keen to capture him.

A statement from St Neots confirmed: “James contacted our director of football, Iain Parr, at the end of December and expressed the view that, taking into consideration the club's current lowly league position, he no longer wanted to play for St Neots Town Football Club.

“After speaking with manager, Matt Clements, the decision was made to move Hall on.

“However, with offers from two clubs being turned down by Hall, Matt has decided to terminate his contract immediately and use the freed up funds to bring in players who are fully committed to St Neots Town Football Club.”

Those comments are in contrast to Clements' on Tuesday, when he said: “I've made it really clear to James that I want him here, and given him advice as both his friend and his manager.

“He had a spell out injured recently, but has trained well since I came to the club and performed very well against Dorchester last Saturday, when he scored two goals and did all the things I asked of him.

“I certainly don't want to lose one of my biggest assets and hopefully I can get him back enjoying his football again.

“It may be a situation where James feels that he wants to look at other options, but ideally we will be able to come to a resolution which suits the club and the player.”

Hall struck the decisive penalty as Saints beat lower-level Godmanchester Rovers in a Hunts Senior Cup semi-final shoot-out on Tuesday night.

Hall previously played for Clements at Godmanchester during last season.